LINGUIST List 32.936

Mon Mar 15 2021

Confs: German; Ling Theories, Morphology, Syntax/France

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 15-Mar-2021
From: Pierre-Yves Modicom <>
Subject: German adverbs and adverbials : descriptive, theoretical and comparative perspectives
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German adverbs and adverbials : descriptive, theoretical and comparative perspectives
Short Title: Adverbien

Date: 29-Apr-2021 - 30-Apr-2021
Location: Bordeaux, France
Contact: Pierre-Yves Modicom
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Syntax

Subject Language(s): German

Meeting Description:

Bordeaux, 29.-30. April 2021 / Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine,
Université Bordeaux Montaigne

Adverbs represent a major challenge for any theory of word classes in German. Among the most plausible candidates for this status, we find lexical items that are morphologically and functionally so diverse that the very unity of the class is cast into doubt.

At the morphosyntactic level, only two features appear to be generally acceptable : the lack of flexion and the ability to fill the first slot of a declarative clause (Vorfeld). Yet, not all connective adverbs and particles can occur in this slot. In spite of this, several authors regard these items as (deficient) adverbs...

Functional-syntactic criteria quickly meet their limits, as well. It is well-known that they can not only modify a verb or a VP, but also be part of an NP or specify an adjective. Even within the VP, several scope classes have to be distinguished. Adverbs such as gerade, weiterhin or noch participate in the marking of aspect and Aktionsart, raising the question of their incipient grammaticalization. Sentence adverbs do not form a unified class, either: they can exhibit different scopes, different functions and occupy different syntactic positions. Functional hierarchies ought to be established. Within the core VP, adverbs are often associated either with manner, or with circumstances. But among adverbs of time and place, some seem to be able to enjoy the status of core arguments to the verb (ich wohne hier), so that it becomes necessary to question the distinction between arguments and adjuncts frequently underlying the notion of circumstantial adverbial. But circumstantials can also play a text- or discourse-structuring role as framesetting topics, in which case they should be located at a higher functional level than “normal” circumstances. The syntactic diversity of adverbs is at least partly linked to the heterogeneity of “adverbial functions”. In German, theses functions can also be fulfilled by NPs, PrepPs, conjunctional phrases (“adverbial clauses”) but also adjectives. Further, many German adverbs go back to processes of lexicalization and/or reanalysis of adverbial NPs. Can we link the presumptive emergence of a lexical class of adverbs in German and the downfall of adverbial genitives? Do adverbial adjectives really have access to the same functions as derivated forms like adverbs ending with -erweise? Is there any kind of relation between morphology and semantic resp. syntactic function?

Program Information:

The aim of the conference is to discuss issues on the formal and functional characterization of adverbs in German, crossing language-specific, descriptive and theoretical research and drawing on inputs from all theoretical backgrounds, from cross-linguistic research. Among the problems to be addressed are:
- The status of adverbs in linguistic theories of parts-of-speech in German
- The respective relevance of functional and formal criteria and their combination, under special consideration of adjective-adverbs and weise-adverbs.
- Taxonomies and hierarchies within adverbs and adverbials; how sustainable are notions like ''circumstancial indications'', “manner adverbs” or “sentence adverbs”?
- The syntax of adverbs

The talks will last 30 minutes + 10 minutes of discussion, and will be held either in German or in English.

The conference will take place online.

Inscription: send an e-mail to: pierre-yves.modicom (at)

Full program available on:

Page Updated: 15-Mar-2021