[Lingtyp] CfP Information structures in spoken language corpora ISSLaC 2

khaude at uni-koeln.de khaude at uni-koeln.de
Tue Mar 31 12:45:19 UTC 2015

Dear colleagues,

We invite abstracts for the upcoming conference on
Information Structure in Spoken Language Corpora (ISSLaC
2) in Paris, France, on December 2-4, 2015 (see
description and call for papers below).


http://llacan.vjf.cnrs.fr/isslac/index.html (in English)
http://llacan.vjf.cnrs.fr/isslac/index_fr.html (in French)


Deadline for abstract submission: April 30, 2015.
Notification of acceptance: June 30, 2015.
Conference: December 2-4, 2015.

Conference Description:

The study of information structure (IS) is primarily
established for well-described languages, but there is a
clear need for new data from a greater variety of
languages (Büring 2009). Indeed, IS theory has been
criticized as being shaped by just a handful of languages
(Matic & Wedgwood 2013). Moreover, new evidence from
lesser-known languages seems to challenge previously
established assumptions (Rialland & Robert 2001, Adamou &
Gordon 2014 among others).

But the attempt to analyze IS is often considered a
'luxury' in the study of lesser-known or endangered
languages despite its centrality in actual communication.
One important reason is that the study of IS is complex
and requires the analysis and interaction of several
linguistic levels, involving syntax, morphology, and
prosody. This implies an excellent understanding of the
so-called canonical syntactic and prosodic structures of a
given language, which is already an enormous and
time-consuming task.

Also, IS in major-communication languages is often
analyzed through intuitive judgments, elicitation,
experimental tasks, and rich corpus analyses (Calhoun
2010), offering the possibility of conducting both
qualitative and quantitative studies. However, the
implementation of these methods in the context of
understudied and, in particular, endangered languages,
proves to be extremely challenging. Most linguists working
on such languages have no native speaker intuitions, and
speakers often have difficulties with elicitation tasks
involving metalinguistic awareness. Furthermore, while the
study of spontaneous speech may appear as an alternative
to using experimental or elicited data, the existing text
corpora of under-documented or endangered languages are
relatively limited in size, often lack explicit
question-answer pairs that are needed for the study of
focus, and the context and speakers' intentions are
difficult to analyze (Schultze-Berndt & Simard 2012).
Thus, on one hand the study of IS phenomena in
lesser-known languages is crucial for the understanding of
IS cross-linguistically; on the other hand, it poses a
particular challenge because of the difficulty to obtain
reliable data.

This conference aims at providing an opportunity to
discuss the above-mentioned methodological problems,
possible solutions, as well as research findings from the
study of lesser-known languages in relation to their
impact on the theory of IS.


Adamou,E. & M. Gordon. 2014. Estudio experimental de la
expresión prosódica de foco en ixcateco, Coloquio sobre
lenguas otomangues y vecinas (COLOV 6), Oaxaca, Biblioteca
de Investigación Juan de Córdova, Apr 24–27, 2014.

Büring, D. 2009. Towards a typology of focus realization.
In M. Zimmermann, & C. Féry, Information Structure,
177-205. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Calhoun, S. 2010. The centrality of metrical structure in
signalling information structure: a probabilistic
perspective. Language 86 (1): 1-42.

Matić, D. & D. Wedgwood. 2013. The meanings of focus: The
significance of an interpretation-based category in
cross-linguistic analysis. Journal of Linguistics 49(1):

Rialland, A. & S. Robert. 2001. The intonation system of
Wolof. Linguistics 39: 893-939.

Schultze-Berndt, E. & C. Simard. 2012. Constraints on noun
phrase discontinuity in an Australian language: The role
of prosody and information structure. Linguistics 50(5):

Call for Papers:

We invite abstracts for 30-minute talks (plus 10 minutes
for discussion) addressing any of the following topics:

- Case studies illustrating the impact of lesser-known
languages on the IS theory

- Corpus-based studies of lesser-known languages,
obstacles and solutions

- Studying IS prosody outside the lab

- Producing quantitative studies for lesser-known

Invited Speakers:

Sasha Calhoun (Victoria University of Weelington)
Dejan Matić (MPI for psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)
Marianne Mithun (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Eva Schultze-Berndt (Manchester University)
Candide Simard (SOAS University of London)
Stavros Skopeteas (Bielefeld University)
Claudia Wegener (Bielefeld University)


Evangelia Adamou (CNRS)
Katharina Haude (CNRS)
Martine Vanhove (CNRS)

Scientific Committee:

Amalia Arvaniti (University of Kent)
Isabelle Bril (CNRS)
Matthew Gordon (University of California at Santa Barbara)
Stefano Manfredi (CNRS)
Amina Mettouchi (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes)
Marianne Mithun (University of California at Santa
Tatiana Nikitina (CNRS)
Annie Rialland (CNRS)
Stéphane Robert (CNRS)
Claudia Wegener (Bielefeld University)

Kind regards,

Evangelia Adamou
Katharina Haude
Martine Vanhove

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