Colloquium on Objects

Dirk Noel noel at RUCA.UA.AC.BE
Tue Oct 1 11:00:52 UTC 1996

CALL FOR PAPERS for the First CoLLaTE Colloquium on

Objects -- Grammatical relations and semantic roles

University of Gent, 23 and 24 May 1997

One of the areas of linguistics which has evolved the most the last few
years is no doubt the study of grammatical functions: from the idealized vue
of traditional grammar, where morphosyntax, semantics and pragmatics
intersect to define a limited number of functions -- like those of 'subject'
and 'object', which risk being inefficient amalgams and the source of much
confusion -- one has moved on to a more modular conception of grammatical
functions, which distinguishes between syntactic relations, semantic roles
like 'agent' and 'patient', and pragmatic functions, usually the pair
'theme' - 'rheme'.

The way the research has developed it has tended to favour marked functions,
mainly the subject, but also oblique functions which are semantically more
limited, like the 'dative'. Objects, on the other hand, have traditionally
received a fairly poor treatment; they are defined by opposition and are not
assigned positive characteristics, a good example being the treatment of the
semantic role of theme-object-patient.

This colloquium, however, wants to put forward more direct approaches in
which objects are considered on their own and for their own sake, and not as
a foil for other functions, or as a supplier -- through diathesis -- of
"derived" subjects. The aim will not only be to characterize objects on the
morphosyntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels, but also to determine how
these interact, to reconsider the links between objects and the lexicon, and
to revisit the question of the intermediary levels between words and phrases
(support verbs, syntagmatic composition).

The colloquium will be open to different theoretical approaches, either
general or contrastive, but the organizers would especially welcome
contributions in which Germanic and Romance languages are contrasted.

One-page abstracts should be sent to Bart Defrancq, French Department,
University of Gent, Blandijnberg 2, B-9000 Gent, before 1 November 1996.

For more information, contact bart.defrancq at or visit the CoLLaTE
Web site:

More information about the Funknet mailing list