Call for abstracts - Gender and classifiers: Cross-linguistic perspectives

Sebastian Fedden s.fedden at SURREY.AC.UK
Wed Aug 28 11:05:50 UTC 2013

Call for abstracts

Dissemination workshop


Gender and classifiers are usually thought of as mutually exclusive systems of noun categorization. In a gender system, as for example in Italian or German, nouns are assigned one or more genders on a semantic or formal basis, and the genders of the language can be defined by sets of markers on agreement targets. In a classifier system, as we find it in Chinese or Vietnamese for instance, a noun appears with a semantically compatible classifier in certain contexts, e.g. quantification with a numeral.
But recent research has turned up more and more languages (mostly Papuan, South American, and Australian) in which the two co-occur together, yielding overlapping and interacting systems of classification. This is an exciting and new area of enquiry which promises to expand our understanding of the semantics and morphology of classification, and of cognitive categories in general.
The main questions guiding this workshop are:

(i) which types of system can be found together in a single language and
(ii) where systems combine are they each going to be close to canonical examples of their type or are they required to be principled deviations from the ideal.

Given our interest in both types of system, we also welcome papers on the typology of noun categorization more generally.

Date: 17 January 2014
Organized by the Surrey Morphology Group at the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK

Invited speakers:
Professor Maria Polinsky (Harvard University)
Professor Gunter Senft (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)

People wishing to present a paper at the workshop are invited to submit a one-page anonymous abstract in electronic form (pdf or Word document) to Sebastian Fedden at the following address:

s.fedden AT

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15 October 2013

Dr Sebastian Fedden
Surrey Morphology Group
School of English and Languages
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
Personal website<>

AHRC Project: Combining Gender and Classifiers in Natural Language (grant AH/K003194/1)<>
AHRC/ESF(EuroBabel) Project: Alor-Pantar languages: origins and theoretical impact (grant AH/H500251/1)<>

A Grammar of Mian. Winner of the 2013 ALT Gabelentz Award. Available through all good bookshops, or direct from De Gruyter Mouton<>

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