[Lingtyp] Workshop "Locally bound possessives as a window on language structure", SLE'48, Leiden 2-5, 2015

Volkova, A. (Anna) A.Volkova at uu.nl
Wed Nov 5 10:24:51 UTC 2014

Dear colleagues,

apologies for cross-posting.

We invite abstracts for the workshop “Locally bound possessives as a window on language structure” at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea to be held in Leiden on 2-5 September 2015.
Anna Volkova, National Research University Higher School of Economics & UiL OTS, Utrecht University
Eric Reuland, UiL OTS, Utrecht University
Alexis Dimitriadis, UiL OTS, Utrecht University

This call regards the submission of the short, preliminary versions of the abstracts (max. 300 words). Submissions will be evaluated by the workshop organizers. After that, 13 abstracts will be selected and submitted together with the workshop proposal to the conference organizers by November 25, 2014. Notification of acceptance/rejection will be given to the workshop organizers by December 15, 2014. If the workshop is accepted, the deadline for the submission of the final version of the abstracts will be January 15, 2015.

Submission Details:
- Deadline for submission (preliminary abstracts): November 22, 2014
- Abstracts are no longer than 300 words, including examples (full references should not be included in the abstract)
- Abstracts must be single-spaced and fully justified. The standard font will be Calibri, size 10. The margins will be 2,54 top/bottom and 1,91 left/right (Moderate in MS Word)
- File format: *.pdf or *.doc
- File name: [title.pdf] / [title.doc]
- Submission email: sle.reflexives at gmail.com<mailto:sle.reflexives at gmail.com> (add ‘Abstract Submission SLE 2015’ in the subject line). The general call for papers of the 48th SLE meeting can be found at: http://www.sle2015.eu/call-for-papers.

Workshop description
The goal of our workshop is to bring together researchers working in different theoretical paradigms, language typologists and language specialists to discuss the factors governing the cross-linguistic distribution of locally bound possessives. In the languages of the world this structural position can be encoded by a pronominal (as in English Mary saw her cat); a dedicated possessive pronoun, often called possessive reflexive (as in Russian Masha uvidela svoju koshku); a genitive form of an argument reflexive (Avar, Northeast Caucasian); or a head marking (Meadow Mari, Uralic).

The main empirical questions to be addressed stem from the conjecture that the availability of dedicated possessive reflexives in a language correlates with the way the language encodes definiteness. In other words, languages without prenominal definite articles usually employ reflexive possessives while languages with prenominal articles employ simple pronominals (see Reuland 2011, and especially Despic (2011) and (forthcoming), for more discussion).

Crucial questions include i. to what extent this conjecture holds also if a larger class of languages is considered, and ii. why it would hold.  Answers to the 2nd question bear on more fundamental issues in our understanding of anaphoric dependencies, specifically the factors underlying locality of binding domains. More generally we are interested in how ‘local binding’ of a possessive element is encoded.

Topics to be contributed by the participants may include:

·      Typology of locally bound possessives.
·      Possessive reflexives and non-subject antecedents.
·      Correlation (or an absence thereof) between the binding domains of an argument reflexive and a reflexive possessive.
·      Languages where a possessive reflexive is a part of a complex reflexive: is there something typologically unusual in terms of binding domains and/or possible antecedents?
·      The development of possessive reflexives from a diachronic point of view.
·      Cross-linguistic variation in the domain of locally bound possessors

The issue of locally bound possessives can be approached from a number of different angles. Since the publication of Lectures on Government and Binding in 1981 the nature of binding and its domains has been in the centre of the linguistic debate.  Basic question one may raise include: What is the role of pragmatic versus formal principles? How are interpretive dependencies represented in functional approaches to language? What is the division of labour between syntactic and semantic principles? One of the crucial problems for Chomsky (1981) was the abundance of cross-linguistic variation in binding patterns of anaphors even among closely related languages (e.g. Germanic). Subsequent work, varying from Reinhart (1983) to Chomsky (1995) raised even more fundamental questions about the way anaphoric dependencies are linguistically represented. The nature of this representation is directly relevant for the question of how we can understand and explain locality conditions on binding.

In brief we suggest that the variation in locally bound possessives may bear on such general questions, but also on very quite framework specific questions. For instance: Can locality be reduced to effects of phases (see Hicks 2012, Charnavel & Sportiche 2014, Despic, to appear), or rather to intervention/minimality effects (as may be expected in approaches such as Rooryck & Vanden Wyngaerd 2011 and Reuland 2011). Or do they arise from competition effects as in Safir (2004), and/or spell-out conditions, as in analyses in terms of minimal pronouns (e.g. Kratzer 2009)? Each of these approaches provides its own perspective on the empirical puzzles the variation poses. (For example, if bound variable pronouns acquire their features during feature transmission and get their pronominal shape at PF, why would in Russian and other Slavic languages possessive reflexives be inserted instead of personal pronouns?)

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