External Possession conference

Doris Payne dlpayne at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU
Tue Oct 22 22:17:06 UTC 1996

                ** Preliminary Announcement and Call for Papers **

                        Conference on External Possession
                                   and related
                        Noun Incorporation Phenomena

                    Eugene, Oregon, 7-10 September, 1997
        Hosted by the Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon

This interdisciplinary and international conference seeks to explore
typological limits on, and theoretical approaches to, External Possession
(including "possessor ascension," "ethical datives" used for possession,
etc.); and the type of Noun Incorporation that shows semantic and
syntactic connections to External Possession.  Included will be
consideration of semantic, grammatical relation, and functional
constraints on External Possession constructions. (See fuller discussion

The conference will include papers from invited speakers, papers selected via
abstract submission (see below), and ample time for focused, moderated
discussion on specific research questions.

Invited speakers and discussants include:  Judith Aissen, Mark Baker, Immanuel
Barshi, Melissa Bowerman, Hilary Chappell, Bill Croft, Mark Durie, Zygmunt
Frajzyngier, Donna Gerdts, Martin Haspelmath, Suzanne Kemmer, Jack Martin,
William McGregor, Marianne Mithun, Pamela Munro, Doris Payne, Tom Payne, Noel
Rude, Maura Velasquez-Castillo, and Roberto Zavala.

We anticipate room for 10 to 15 additional papers in the conference program.
These will be selected by reviewers from submitted abstracts.  Abstracts for 20
minute presentations should be one to two pages in length, and should address
in sufficient depth how the paper contributes to one or more of the conference
foci (see below).

                Deadline for abstract submission is March 15, 1997.

Please send 3 hard copies or an e-mail copy of the abstract to:

        Doris Payne
        Department of Linguistics
        University of Oregon
        Eugene, OR  97403
        dlpayne at oregon.uoregon.edu

Registration and accommodation information will be sent out at a later date.  A
nominal registration fee will be charged.  This conference will be
followed by the meeting of The Association for Linguistic Typology,
(September 11-14).  (For more information about ALT II, contact Johan van
der Auwera: auwera at uia.ua.ac.be)


External Possession has often been referred to as "Possessor Raising,"
"Possessor Ascension," or "Dative of Interest," depending on one's theoretical
bias and the language family involved.  We use the term "External Possession"
to refer to any construction in which a possessive relationship is necessarily
entailed between two participants, where the possessor is expressed externally
to the constituent which contains the possessed item.  The possessor may or may
not be simultaneously expressed by a pronoun, clitic, or affix internal to the
NP which contains the possessed item, but this NP- internal coding cannot be
the only expression of the possessor.  Additionally, a lexical predicate, such
as 'have,' 'own,' or 'be located at' cannot be the only expression of the
possessor-possessed relationship for the construction to qualify as an EP

There appears to be a close relationship between External Possession and at
least some Noun Incorporation phenomena.  For example, if EP is possible in a
language at all, the external possessor can be construed as possessing body
part objects of transitive verbs.  Similarly, if NI is possible at all, it will
include the incorporation of body part objects of transitive verbs, potentially
leaving the understood possessor of the incorporated body part outside the

EP phenomena have been reported on in scattered ways in the literature and
appear to be widely found in languages around the world.  However, so far there
has been no focused discussion of its typological parameters, or its
theoretical treatment.  This conference aims to bring together researchers of
differing theoretical persuasions and wide typological experience so that we
can effectively explore multiple dimensions of the phenomenon.


The conference will specifically seek to explore the following:

* The semantics and pragmatics of EP and associated NI constructions:
        - With what semantic roles can an external possessor be construed
          /interpreted? (e.g., just Theme? Any semantic role?)

        - With what range of noun types can EP/NI constructions be formed?
          (e.g., just body parts, inalienably possessed items, anything?)

        - Affectedness, "contrast", topicality, or other features of the
          possessor or other participants associated with choice of EP/NI

* The morphosyntax of EP constructions:

        - With what grammatical relations can an external possessor be
          construed? (e.g., just direct objects?  Absolutives?  Any core
          grammatical relation?)

        - In what grammatical relation or case form is an EP expressed?
          (e.g., direct object, subject, dative?)

        - Are there observed preferences cross-linguistically on the encoding of
          external possessors?  If so, what is the motivation for the observed
          preferences?  What would account for alternative minority patterns?

* EP/NI and voice, argument structure or event structure changes.

* EP/NI and associations with applicative and causative constructions.

* The implication of EP/NI constructions for theories of syntax, and the
  semantics-pragmatics-syntax interface.

* The acquisition of EP/NI and their implications for theories of language

* Cognitive demands in the processing (both discourse and sentence levels) of
  EP and NI constructions and the implications to models of language

* Diachronic rise and grammaticalization path of EP/NI constructions.

For further information, contact one of the conference organizers:
        Doris Payne (541-346-3894, dlpayne at oregon.uoregon.edu)
        Immanuel Barshi (303-492-7059, barshi at psych.colorado.edu)

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