Call for abstracts: Case in and across languages, Helsinki, August 27-29, 2009

"Seppo Kittilä" sepkit at UTU.FI
Tue Oct 28 06:18:51 UTC 2008

(Apologies for multiple postings)

Call for abstracts

Case in and across languages

SKY (The Linguistic Association of Finland) organizes a symposium ‘Case in and across languages’ in Helsinki (Finland), August 27-29, 2009. The official website of the workshop, with the Call for Papers and other information, is found at:

As a system that marks the relations between words in a sentence, case is essential to every language. Case has, for example, the function of distinguishing between agent and patient, and it often codes adverbial functions, such as location, instruments and manner, all of which are central concepts in every language. Yet while there is no doubt that case constitutes a core feature of grammar, linguists are not fully agreed on how to define it theoretically. What, for example, are the differences between adpositions and morphological cases? The status and definition of case also varies across different theories of grammar. In addition to the multitude of theoretical definitions, languages display significant differences, for example, in the number, characteristics and functions of cases. Furthermore, while morphological case is a significant grammatical feature in many languages, it is not obligatory in language generally: numerous languages lack (morphological) case altogeth
er and use distinct formal means (such as serial verb constructions and applicatives) to encode relations that other languages express via case marking. Cases also differ according to whether their form and meaning is determined by the verb or other head word, or whether they are more independent in nature.

The goal of this symposium is to bring together scholars working on case. We welcome contributions dealing with case from various perspectives and backgrounds (including theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches), and with both language-specific and cross-linguistic approaches to case. Presentations should be accessible to all scholars regardless of their backgrounds. Possible topics for talks include (but are not restricted to) the following:

- Case inventories/systems in individual languages/language families
- Languages without morphological cases/with poor case inventories 
- Distinction between morphological cases and adpositions
- Grammaticalization of cases
- Functions expressed by case in/and across languages
- Differences between semantic and grammatical cases
- Discussions of core vs. peripheral cases
- Case in psycholinguistics (e.g. acquisition of cases, processing of cases)
- Case in different theories of grammar
- Case polysemy
- The expression of case functions in languages without cases
- The relevance of case to linguistic theory/definitions of case
- Corpus-based studies of case
- Non-existent cases that ought to be

The deadline for submission of abstracts (in English; max 500 words, an additional page is allowed for data, tables and references) is March 1, 2009. Please submit your abstract by e-mail to the address of the organizing committee (sky-case at Send your abstract as attachment to an e-mail message (in both .pdf and .doc formats). The abstracts must be anonymous (author information must be given in the body of the message only). Please indicate clearly whether your abstract is intended as a poster or a section paper. The abstracts will be evaluated by the organizing committee and by the members of the scientific committee (see below). Participants will be notified of acceptance by April 3, 2009. The collection of abstracts will be made available on the symposium website after the program has been finalized. The time allotted for talks is 20 minutes for the talk and 10 minutes for discussion.


Proposals for workshops should be submitted no later than February 15, 2009. Workshop proposals will be evaluated by the organizing committee. Notification of acceptance status will be given by March 15. These one-day workshops may run in parallel sessions with the main conference program; alternatively, the first day of the symposium may be dedicated to workshops. The symposium organizers will provide the lecture rooms and other facilities, but the workshop organizers will be responsible for the organization of their workshops (choosing the speakers etc.).

The body of the message should include the following information (preferably in this order):

1) Name of the participant
2) Title of presentation
3) Affiliation
4) E-mail address
5) Whether the paper is meant as a section paper, a poster, or a workshop?


- Presentations by invited speakers
- Presentations by other participants
- Posters
- Workshops

Confirmed invited speakers

Peter Austin (SOAS, London)
Tuomas Huumo (University of Tartu)
Laura Janda (University of Tromso)

Scientific committee

Ina Bornkessel (MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig)
Martin Haspelmath (MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig)
Bernd Heine (University of Cologne)
Helen de Hoop (University of Nijmegen)
Andrej Malchukov (MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig)
John Newman (University of Alberta)
Urpo Nikanne (Åbo Akademi University)
Krista Ojutkangas (University of Turku)
Anna Siewierska (University of Lancaster)
Maria Vilkuna (Research Centre for the Languages of Finland)

Organizing committee

Seppo Kittilä, University of Helsinki
Aki Kyröläinen, University of Turku
Ulla Vanhatalo, University of Helsinki
Laura Visapää, University of Helsinki


The registration deadline is August 1, 2009. Please send your registration by e-mail to the address of the organizing committee, given below.

Registration fees

General: 75 Euro
Members of the association: 50 Euro
Undergraduate students: 25 Euro

The registration fee includes conference folder, refreshments during coffee breaks, get-together on August 27 and the conference dinner on August 28. Finnish participants are requested to pay the registration fee to the SKY bank account when they register for the conference (bank account number 174530-71243 (Nordea)). Participants from abroad are likewise requested to pay in advance
with bank transfer, when at all possible, to the SKY bank account in
Finland (Bank: Nordea; IBAN: FI76 1745 3000 0712 43, BIC: NDEAFIHH), though we will also accept payment IN CASH (only in Euros; moreover, we CANNOT accept credit cards of any sort) upon arrival. In the case of advance bank transfer payment from abroad, we would kindly ask you to bring with you and present upon registration a COPY of the original transaction receipt.

Conference venue

Tieteiden talo (House of Sciences), address Kirkkokatu 6. How to get there information will be found at the webpage of the symposium closer to the conference.


Please send all queries to the address of the organizing committee at sky-case at

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