Workshop: Information Structure in Spoken Language Corpora

C Wegener cuwegener at YAHOO.DE
Mon Oct 29 08:41:32 UTC 2012

Apologies for cross-posting...

Information Structure in Spoken Language
Corpora (ISSLaC)
10-12 June 2013, Bielefeld, Germany 

Recent developments in technology have made
it possible for linguists to create spoken language corpora on a hitherto
unprecedented range of languages, including several lesser-studied
languages.  For languages without a
written tradition, spoken corpora assume an even greater value since they
document the only mode of communication.  Data obtained from corpora are increasingly used in linguistic research,
reflecting a more usage-based orientation on the part of linguists on the one hand,
and making analyses verifiable on the other.
Spoken language corpora are promising to be
particularly useful to the study of infor­ma­tion structure (IS). IS often
involves complex correspondences between communica­tive goals and marking
strategies, encompassing prosody, morphology, and syntactic structure, the full
range of which can best be observed in naturally occurring data (Brunetti et
al: 2011). However, the investigation of IS in spoken cor­pora still has many methodological
obstacles to overcome, ranging from those related to the prosodic analysis of
spontaneous speech to those relating to the very identification of IS
categories in such spontaneous data. These challenges explain why much research
on IS continues to rely on introspection or on experimental research. These
techniques are rarely available to linguists working with lesser-known
languages: they are usually not native speakers, making introspection
impossible; further, many types of experiments are not applicable in
non-literate and/or non-western cultural contexts. Thus analysing spoken
corpora is the only means to get insights into the encoding of IS in these
languages, and indeed it is only through the study of spontaneous data that it
is possible to gather inventories of the full range of IS categories and understand
how they are employed in discourse.
The goal of this workshop is to discuss both
research findings on information structure based on spoken corpora, and
methodological issues arising in such investigations, in a cross-linguistic
This workshop is part of the project Discourse and
prosody across language family boundaries: two corpus-based case studies on
contact-induced syntactic and prosodic convergence in the encoding of information
structure, funded by DoBeS (Volkswagen­Stiftung Funding
Initiative “Documentation of Endangered Languages”).
Evangelia Adamou (CNRS – LACITO, Villejuif,
Lisa Brunetti (CNRS – DLD, Lyon, France)
Yiya Chen (Leiden University, The
Dejan Matic  (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Amina Mettouchi (CNRS – LLACAN, Villejuif,
Antje Muntendam (Radboud University Nijmegen,
The Netherlands)
Patrizia Paggio (University of Copenhagen,
Denmark; University of Malta)
Arndt Riester (Universität Stuttgart, Germany)
Dina El Zarka (Karl-Franzens-Universität
Graz, Austria)
Sabine Zerbian (Universität Potsdam, Germany)
Claudia Wegener, University of Bielefeld
Candide Simard, SOAS, London
Eva Schultze-Berndt, University of Manchester
Call for Papers
We invite
submissions for 30 min talks (plus 10 min for discussion) on anyof
the following aspects: 
We invite submissions for 30 min talks (plus 10 min for discussion) on any of the following aspects: 

- Which prosodic and/or syntactic features of
information structure have been identified on the basis of corpora of
(naturalistic) spoken discourse, both for better-known and lesser-known
- How do these findings compare with findings
based on experimental research or non-corpus data?
- What are the methodological issues and
advances associated with research on information structure in spoken language
- How do findings based on spoken corpora
contribute to our knowledge of a cross-linguistic inventory of information
structure categories?
- What evidence is there for convergence in
information structure categories and the strategies for their expression in
situations of language contact?
Abstracts should be submitted anonymously online
under the following link:  
Please include only the title of your talk in
the abstract. You should then give your title as well as your name and
affiliation on the abstract submission page. 
Abstracts should not be longer than one A4
page including references, plus half a page for examples if applicable (Times
New Roman font, 12 pt, single-spaced). Please upload your abstract as a PDF- or
DOC-file as instructed by the submission system. 
Deadline for abstract submission: December
15, 2012 
Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2013
If you have any questions regarding this workshop you can contact the organizers by email: 
lsslac at 
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