26.1928, Calls: Typology/Netherlands

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LINGUIST List: Vol-26-1928. Fri Apr 10 2015. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 26.1928, Calls: Typology/Netherlands

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Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:42:00
From: Katarzyna Wojtylak [kasia.wojtylak at my.jcu.edu.au]
Subject: Workshop Comparative and Superlative Constructions: Typology and Diachrony

 
Full Title: Workshop Comparative and Superlative Constructions: Typology and Diachrony 

Date: 16-Jun-2015 - 17-Jun-2015
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Contact Person: Lourens de Vries
Meeting Email: l.j.de.vries at vu.nl

Linguistic Field(s): Typology 

Call Deadline: 25-Apr-2015 

Meeting Description:

VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Language and Culture Research Centre (Australia) are pleased to announce a special workshop on Comparative and Superlative Constructions, to be held at the VU University in Amsterdam, 16-17 June 2015. 

The term ‘comparative construction’ is defined in the literature as a way of comparing two participants (objects) with regard to a certain kind of property (Dixon 2008; Heine 2003; Stassen 1985, 2011). Consider the English example in (1) (after Dixon 2008):

(1) John is more handsome than Felix. 

Of course, many languages have comparative constructions unlike those in English, from serial verb constructions that include verbs of exceeding or surpassing to various types of bi-clausal constructions.  Cross-linguistically, it is not uncommon to find a range of comparative constructions in one language. But in some linguistic areas, such as New Guinea, one frequently finds no dedicated, grammaticalized forms of comparison. Instead, comparative and superlative readings are contextually inferred from the use of intensifiers with adjectives. Or speakers use comparative strategies that heavily rely on contextual implications of juxtaposed utterances of type (2). If there is some grammatical coding, languages in this area tend to leave key elements of the comparison implicit, especially standards.  

(2) John is big. Harry is not. 

There are indications that comparative constructions have a relatively high degree of borrowability and potential to diffuse. In linguistic areas traditionally poor in dedicate comparative constructions, dominant languages of wider communication may supply speakers of minority languages with grammatical models through calquing (Dixon 2012: 371, e.g. Malay, Turkish, English models).

In this workshop, we will examine comparative constructions from a cross-linguistic perspective. By paying attention to lesser studied languages and language families, we aim to explore the morphological, syntactic and semantic properties of comparative constructions, as well as to address the question of their diachronic origins and borrowability. Our point of departure is, but is not restricted to, Dixon’s (2008) seminal work on the typology of comparative constructions. 

References
Dixon, R. M. W. (2008). Comparative constructions: a cross-linguistic typology. Studies in Language, 32(4), 787-817. 
Dixon, R. M. W. (2012). Basic Linguistic Theory: Further Grammatical Topics (Vol. III). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Heine, B. (2003). Comparative constructions in Africa: An areal dimension. Annual Publications in African Linguistics, 1, 47-68. 
Stassen, L. (1985). Comparison and universal grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.
Stassen, L. (2011). Comparative Constructions. In M. S. Dryer & M. Haspelmath (Eds.), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Munich: Max Planck Digital Library, chapter 121.

Convenors: Prof. Lourens de Vries (VU University Amsterdam) and Katarzyna Wojtylak, MPhil (Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University).

2nd Call for Papers:

The abstract submission deadline has been extended to 25 April 2015.

We invite papers analyzing data from a wide range of languages, language families and linguistic areas. Lesser studied languages, data on superlative expressions and borrowability/areal factors are of special interest. We place emphasis on work that has a sound empirical basis but also shows a firm theoretical orientation (in terms of general typological theory). Presentations will consist of 45-minute sessions, of which 30 minutes should be for the presentation and 15 minutes for discussion time. The format of the workshop is an informal, low-budget, get-together workshop to exchange data and perspectives. There is no registration fee. 

Submission of abstracts: April 25, 2015
Notification of acceptance: May 1, 2015

Interested presenters are invited to submit abstracts of maximally 500 words to Katarzyna Wojtylak [kasia.wojtylak at my.jcu.edu.au]. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by May 1, 2015.




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