Second call for abstracts: Case in and across languages

"Seppo Kittilä" sepkit at UTU.FI
Wed Jan 7 15:41:31 UTC 2009

(apologies for multiple postings)

Second 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 
symposium, 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 altogether 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 

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-Schlesewsky (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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