[Lingtyp] Call for papers: Proper names versus common nouns: morphosyntactic contrasts in the languages of the world

Javier Caro Reina jcarorei at uni-koeln.de
Fri Jun 8 15:32:55 UTC 2018

41st Annual Conference of the German Society for Linguistics (DGfS)
University of Bremen (Germany), March 6-8, 2019

Workshop 02: /Proper names versus common nouns: morphosyntactic 
contrasts in the languages of the world/


Johannes Helmbrecht, Universität Regensburg, Johannes.Helmbrecht at ur.de
Javier Caro Reina, Universität zu Köln, javier.caroreina at uni-koeln.de

Call for papers:

Recent research has shown that proper names may differ 
morphosyntactically from common nouns (see Schlücker & Ackermann 2017 
for details). These morphological and syntactic differences are so 
striking that Nübling et al. (2015) speak of a specific “onymic 
grammar”. However, little is known of the morphosyntactic contrasts 
between proper names and common nouns in less studied European and 
Non-European languages, or even from a cross-linguistic perspective. The 
goal of this workshop is to bring together papers that examine the 
morphological and syntactic patterns of proper names in opposition to 
common nouns in related and unrelated languages (and language families), 
from a descriptive, comparative-typological, or diachronic perspective.

Topics to be explored include language-specific and/or cross-linguistic 
differences between proper names and common nouns regarding:
- verbal agreement (cross-reference) of argument positions;
- word order of argument positions and/or non-arguments (adjuncts);
- topicalization and dislocation;
- differential case marking of arguments and/or non-arguments (adjuncts);
- inflection and word-formation (including allomorphy);
- gender assignment (e.g. Bantu languages);
- definite articles (e.g. Austronesian languages);
- modifiers;
- etc.

Grammatical phenomena that have received more attention in typology and 
that fall under these possible topics of the workshop are Differential 
Object Marking (DOM) and changes of alignment types in split ergative 
languages. In Old Spanish, for instance, DOM was obligatory with 
personal names while it was optional with human definite common nouns. 
In Corsican, by contrast, DOM occurs with proper names but not with 
common nouns (see Caro Reina, forthcoming). Furthermore, personal names 
pattern differently with regard to the alignment type in so-called split 
ergative languages. For example, Meriam Mer (a Papuan language of the 
Torres Strait region) has a nominative-accusative case marking pattern 
with personal pronouns and an ergative-absolutive marking pattern with 
common nouns. Proper names, on the other hand, have a three-way marking 
pattern with an ergative case for the A argument, absolutive case for 
the S argument, and an accusative case for the O argument (see 
Helmbrecht et al. 2018 for further examples and a discussion).

Additionally, proper names have been traditionally viewed as a 
homogeneous group. However, there is cross-linguistic evidence that an 
animacy-based classification of proper names comprised of deity names 
(theonyms), personal names (anthroponyms), animal names (zoonyms), and 
place names (toponyms) contributes to a better understanding of the 
distinct morphosyntactic patterns of proper names.

The workshop will enable us to explore the morphosyntactic differences 
between proper names and common nouns, and also to strive for semantic 
and pragmatic explanations of these differences. We invite submissions 
of abstracts that address the morphosyntactic contrasts between common 
nouns and proper names in a language or language family, 
cross-linguistically, or from a diachronic perspective.


Caro Reina, Javier. Forthcoming. Differential object marking with proper 
names in Romance languages. In Luise Kempf, Damaris Nübling & Mirjam 
Schmuck (eds.), /Linguistik der Eigennamen/. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Helmbrecht, Johannes et al. 2018. Morphosyntactic coding of proper names 
and its implications for the Animacy Hierarchy. In Sonja Cristofaro & 
Fernando Zún͂iga (eds.), /Typological hierarchies in synchrony and 
diachrony/, 381–404. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Nübling, Damaris et al. 2015. /Namen: Eine Einführung in die Onomastik/. 
Tübingen: Narr.
Schlücker, Barbara & Tanja Ackermann. 2017. The morphosyntax of proper 
names: An overview. /Folia Linguistica/ 51(2). 309–339.

Abstract submission:

Please send abstracts (not more than one page in pdf format) to Johannes 
Helmbrecht (Johannes.Helmbrecht at ur.de) and Javier Caro Reina 
(javier.caroreina at uni-koeln.de) no later than July 29, 2018. Abstracts 
should contain contact details (name, affiliation, and email address). 
Notification of acceptance will be send around by August 26, 2018. Talks 
will be given 30 or 60 minute slots including discussion, depending on 
the program.

The regulations of the German Society for Linguistics (DGfS) do not 
allow that workshop participants present two or more papers in different 
workshops. Likewise, organizers of other workshops of this conference 
are not allowed to present a paper in this workshop.

Dr. Javier Caro Reina
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Romanisches Seminar
Universität zu Köln
D-50923  Köln
Tel.: 0049(0)221-470-2831
Homepage: http://romanistik.phil-fak.uni-koeln.de/23170.html

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