CfP: Workshop on Scales (or Hierarchies)
haspelmath at EVA.MPG.DE
Thu Jan 17 11:15:24 UTC 2008
Date: 29-Mar-2008 - 30-Mar-2008
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Meeting Email: **scales at uni-leipzig.de**
Web Site: http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~va/scales.html <http://www.uni-leipzig.de/%7Eva>
Call Deadline: 31-Jan-2008
The goal of this workshop is to address empirical and theoretical
aspects of scales (or hierarchies), as they are relevant for grammatical
phenomena like argument encoding and diatheses (see, e.g., Silverstein 1976, Comrie
1981, Aissen 2003), by bringing together research from typology,
grammatical theory, and psycholinguistics.
Forschergruppe 742 (DFG):
Grammar and Processing of Verbal Arguments
University of Leipzig
MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology
MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Email to: *scales at uni-leipzig.de*
Abstracts should be anonymous, no more than one page, in pdf format;
12pt, at least 2cm margins on all sides, for 30 minute talks (40
Name, affiliation, and title of the abstract should be included in
the body of the email.
Reimbursement: Speakers will be partially reimbursed.
Deadline for abstract submission: January 31, 2008 (Notification of
acceptance: February 5, 2007)
The workshop will combine 10 presentations selected from the submitted
abstracts with contributions by members of Forschergruppe 742
(including Balthasar Bickel, Petr Biskup, Ina Bornkessel, Michael
Cysouw, Uwe Junghanns, Martin Haspelmath, Andrej Malchukov, Gereon
Müller, Jochen Trommer).
Since the discovery of scales (or hierarchies) for grammatical
categories in the
70s, many cross-linguistic generalizations have been noted in the
functional-typological literature, especially in domains such as
marking, argument encoding by case or agreement (Silverstein 1976,
and diatheses and direction marking (Comrie 1981, DeLancey 1981). The
formulation of scales as ''implicational hierarchies'' has enabled
in this area to formulate some of the most robust generalizations on
More recently, the concept of scales has received considerable
grammatical theory as well. In particular, the work of Aissen (1999,
2003) has triggered a surge of research occupied with the question of
effects of scales are related to general principles of morpho-
Also, recent work in psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic theorizing
for cross-linguistic principles of language processing which employ
of a scale. The idea is that scales may help to guide incremental
interpretation by serving to shape the the interpretive relations
established between different arguments online (Bornkessel &
In this workshop we would like to discuss empirical and theoretical
scales including (but not restricted to) the following.
(i) How well-established is the cross-linguistic evidence for
scales? Recently, different potential counter-examples have been
Filimonova 2005, Haude 2007). The question is especially pressing as the
availability of large databases (WALS, TDS) and recent comprehensive
studies promise a better understanding of the relevant empirical
generalizations. Also, is there evidence for new scales that have so
unnoticed? And could it be that scales are organized in a meta-
respect to each other?
(ii) What is the status of scales in grammatical theory? Are they
grammar itself (Noyer 1992, Aissen 1999, 2003) or rather
epiphenomena? If the
latter, are they epiphenomena of (a) functionality or frequency
language use (Bresnan, Dingare & Manning 2001, Newmeyer 2002, Hawkins
Haspelmath 2008), or (b) derivable from other grammatical mechanisms
feature geometry or/and syntactic movement (Harley & Ritter 2002,
What is the relation between feature hierarchies and the order of
functional projections in syntax (Cinque 1999, Starke 2001)?
(iii) Which role do scales play in the language processing
they be afforded an independent status or can they be viewed as
other information types (e.g., frequency of occurrence)? Is there
the interaction of different scales during language processing and,
if so, how
does this interaction take place?
Aissen, Judith (1999): Markedness and Subject Choice in Optimality
Theory, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 17, 673-711.
Aissen, Judith (2003): Differential Object Marking: Iconicity
vs. Economy, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 21, 435-483.
Bejar, S. (2003): Phi-Syntax: A Theory of Agreement. PhD thesis,
University of Toronto.
Bornkessel, I. & Schlesewsky, M. (2006): The extended argument
dependency model: A neurocognitive approach to sentence comprehension
across languages. Psychological Review 113, 787-821.
Bresnan, Joan, Shipra Dingare & Christopher Manning (2001): Soft
Constraints Mirror Hard Constraints: Voice and Person in English and
Lummi. In: Proceedings of the LFG 01 Conference, University of Hong
Cinque, Guglielmo (1999): Adverbs and Functional Heads, Oxford
University Press, Oxford.
Comrie, Bernard (1981): Language Universals and Linguistic
Typology. Blackwell, Oxford.
DeLancey, Scott (1981): An interpretation of split ergativity and
related patterns. Language 51, 626-657.
Dixon, R.M.W. (1979): Ergativity, Language 55:59-138.
Filimonova, Elena (2005): 'The noun phrase hierarchy and relational
marking: problems and counterevidence', Linguistic Typology 9, 77-113.
Harley, H. and Ritter, E. (2002): A feature-geometric analysis of
person and number. Language 78, 482-526.
Haspelmath, Martin (2008): Frequency vs. Iconicity in Explaining
Grammatical Asymmetries. To appear in: Cognitive Linguistics 19.1
Haude, Katharina (2007): A grammar of Movima, PhD thesis, Radboud
Hawkins, John A. (2004): Efficiency and Complexity in
Grammars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
de Hoop, Helen & Lamers, Monique (2006): Incremental
distinguishability of subject and object. In: L. Kulikov, A. Malchukov
& P. de Swart (eds). Case, Valency and
Transitivity. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Newmeyer, Frederick (2002): Optimality and Functionality: A Critique
of Functionally-Based Optimality Theoretic Syntax, Natural Language
and Linguistic Theory pp. 43-80.
Noyer, Rolf (1992): Features, Positions and Affixes in Autonomous
Morphological Structure. PhD thesis, MIT.
Silverstein, Michael (1976): Hierarchy of Features and Ergativity. In:
R. Dixon, ed., Grammatical Categories in Australian
Languages. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra,
Starke, Michal (2001): Move Dissolves into Merge: a Theory of
Locality; PhD thesis, University of Geneva.
Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at eva.mpg.de)
Max-Planck-Institut fuer evolutionaere Anthropologie, Deutscher Platz 6
Tel. (MPI) +49-341-3550 307, (priv.) +49-341-980 1616
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