call for papers, ICLC10 Theme Session on Classification of Events

Eva Schultze-Berndt schultze-berndt at LING.UNI-GRAZ.AT
Fri Oct 20 09:12:53 UTC 2006

Dear Colleagues, 

We would like to bring to your attention, and invite abstract submissions for, the
following Theme Session at the 10th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference
in Krakow, Poland, July 15-20, 2007.

Best wishes,

Eva Schultze-Berndt
Thekla Wiebusch
Bill McGregor

Topic: “Representation of Actions, States and Events in Classification Systems –
Universals and Typological Diversity''

Bill McGregor, Arhus University, Denmark; linwmg at
Eva Schultze-Berndt, Graz University, Austria; eva.schultzeberndt at
Thekla Wiebusch, CRLAO, CNRS-EHESS, Paris, France; thekla.wiebusch at

Abstracts (for a 20 min. presentation) should be no longer than 500 words (including
examples and references) and be sent as attached word or text document to Eva
Schultze-Berndt by 5th November 2006.

Proposal text:
The theme session will bring together evidence from different languages and
disciplines to shed some light on features and criteria of human categorization
manifested specifically in the classification of actions, states and events. This
domain includes a wide array of abstract notions and concepts usually associated
with verbs. Their representation in different types of classification systems has
received much less attention than “nominal” concepts such as animals, plants or
artefacts. The classification systems taken into consideration here manifest
themselves in either (spoken or signed) language or script: 
- Numeral classifier systems, for nouns and for verbs
- Closed-class verbs functioning as classifiers in complex predicates 
- Semantic determinatives in writing systems
- Event classifiers in sign languages
The wide range of languages in which we find these classification systems allow
cross-linguistic comparison along several dimensions. At the same time, the parallel
existence of several classification systems in the same languages makes it possible
to distinguish system specific features from cognitive universals. 

Questions to be addressed in this theme session include: 
- What are basic concepts, i.e. basic actions, states or events in the different
systems and languages, and are there universals?
- What kind of domain structure do we find: e.g. prototype members, graded
membership, typical taxonomical or schematic relations between the classifying and
classified element? 
- Which basic features of actions, states or events – e.g. direction, speed, change
of state, duration, repetition, agency, tools, human sensations etc. play a role in
the different classification systems? Are they parallel to features found for living
beings or artefacts, or do they form independent categories? 
- Are there correlations between the function or syntactic features of the different
systems and semantic properties? More specifically: in languages using more than one
of the classification systems, will they show a coherent picture or systematically
system-specific characteristics? 
- To what extent can we find synchronic and diachronic variation? Are there
universal tendencies of evolution, and in this case, can they be cognitively,
culturally or linguistically motivated?

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