Call for papers: Creating infrastructure for canonical typology

Dunstan Brown d.brown at
Tue Mar 11 13:21:57 UTC 2008



ŒCreating infrastructure for canonical typology¹
University of Surrey, 9-10 January 2009
Conference hosted by the Surrey Morphology Group


Papers are invited for a two-day conference addressing issues relevant for
the creation of an online infrastructure for Canonical Typology (Corbett
2005, 2006). Linguists¹ intuitions about what are particular instances of a
phenomenon, such as a case or agreement, can differ because of differences
in the choice of criteria which they take to be definitional. The canonical
approach allows us to address these differences by taking defining
properties and placing them in a multidimensional space. In this way, we can
treat, for example, issues of whether particular constructions fit under the
rubric Œagreement¹ or Œcase¹ as a matter of greater or lesser proximity to a
canonical ideal. An ontology for this approach therefore requires a mapping
out of the criteria that linguistic typologists use for defining linguistic


The Surrey Morphology Group proposes to bring together linguists from
different perspectives to outline the issues relevant for the creation of an
ontology for Canonical Typology in the form of a Community of Practice
Extension (COPE) within the GOLD ontology for linguistics (Farrar and
Langendoen 2003; see also:
Contributions may address the following issues: the canonical criteria for
defining different morphosyntactic features (case, gender, number, etc.);
defining canonical criteria for syntax-morphology interaction (agreement,
government, head, modifier, etc.); practical issues for the fieldworker;
issues of computational implementation and reasoning. We invite papers on
these and related topics from computational linguists, fieldworkers,
typologists, as well as researchers working on ontologies.

Confirmed speakers:

·     Nicholas Evans (Australian National University)
·     Scott Farrar (University of Washington)
·     Frank Seifart (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Anonymous abstracts (500 word maximum) should be sent as an attachment by
e-mail to a.kibort at by 29 August 2008, with contact information
contained in the body of the message. Notification of acceptance will be
sent by October 31, 2008. Any questions may also be sent to the above



Corbett, Greville G. 2005. The canonical approach in typology. In: Zygmunt
Frajzyngier, Adam Hodges and David S. Rood (eds) Linguistic Diversity and
Language Theories. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 25-49.
Corbett, Greville G. 2006. Agreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 
Farrar, Scott and D. Terence Langendoen .2003. A linguistic ontology for the
Semantic Web. GLOT International 7 (3), 97 - 100.

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