[Lingtyp] Call for expressions of interest: ALT2019 workshop proposal, "Typological approaches to linguistic levels"

John Mansfield jbmansfield at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 04:33:00 UTC 2018

Call for expressions of interest:* ‘Typological approaches to linguistic

ALT Workshop, Pavia, 4–6 September 2019

Convenors: John Mansfield and Adam Tallman

Expression of interest due: 1 November 2018

Workshop description:

Many linguistic theories assume that languages are organized into levels
such as morph/word/phrase, X/X'/X'' and PWord/PPhrase/IPhrase. The most
contentious of these is the idea that morphology and syntax are distinct
systems of organization (Baerman, Brown and Corbett 2017; Bruening 2018).
However, there are more general typological problems faced by all theories
of linguistic levels.

One problem is identifying criteria that distinguish levels in linguistic
structure (Croft 2001; Haspelmath 2011). Identifying a word constituent
based on one criterion alone results in circularity and lack of
comparability across languages, while on the other hand, multiple criteria
fail to align. One solution is to reject platonic notions of ‘word’ and
instead begin from the criteria themselves, generating cross-linguistic
comparisons of criterial (non-)alignment (Bickel, Hildebrandt, Schiering
2010; Bickel & Zuñiga 2017). Another posits that words cluster around the
most informative boundary types (Geertzen, Blevins, Milin 2017). A third
approach tests whether languages vary in the extent to which they motivate
a distinction between morphology and syntax (Tallman and Epps *forthcoming*;
Tallman et al. 2018). Some linguists have challenged the idea that
morphosyntactic words can be motivated *at all *without phonological
criteria (Dryer ms), undermining the empirical basis of keeping
morphosyntactic and phonological constituency distinct without stipulation.

In this workshop we seek contributions that empirically interrogate levels
of linguistic structure, as opposed to assuming their existence. We welcome
quantitative approaches, information-theoretic methods, morphological,
syntactic and prosodic studies. We also welcome contributions from lesser
studied languages that shed particular light on the problem of linguistic

Conference information:

To submit an expression of interest please contact the convenors with a
title and a brief provisional abstract (max. 300 words):

John Mansfield (john.mansfield at unimelb.edu.au)

Adam Tallman (ajrtallman at utexas.edu)


Submit expression of interest: 1 November 2018
Workshop proposal submission to ALT: 15 November 2018
Workshop acceptance notification: 25 November 2018
Conference: 4-6 September 2019


Baerman, Matthew, Dunstan Brown, and Corbett Greville G. 2017. *Morphological
complexity.* Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bickel, Balthasar, and Fernando Zuñiga. 2017. "The 'word' in polysynthetic
languages: phonological and syntactic challenges." In *The Oxford Handbook
of Polysynthesis*, edited by Michael Fortascue, Marianne Mithun and Nichols
Evans, 158-186. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bickel, Balthasar, Kristine A. Hildebrandt, and René Schiering. 2009. "The
distribution of phonological word domains: A probabilistic typology."
In *Phonological
Domains: Universals and Deviations*, edited by Janet Grijzenhout and Kabak
Baris, 47-75. De Gruyter Mouton.

Bruening, Benjamin. ‘The lexicalist hypothesis: Both wrong and
superfluous.’ *Language* 94, 1: 1–42.

Croft, William. 2001. *Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in
Typological Perspective.*Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dryer, Matthew. 2017. *The myth of grammatical (morphosyntactic) words.* ms.

Geertzen, Jeroen, James P Blevins, and Petar Milin. 2016. "The
informativeness of linguistic unit bondaries." *Italian Journal of
Linguistics* 28 (2): 1-24.

Haspelmath, Martin. 2011. "The indeterminacy of word segmentation and the
nature of morphology and syntax." *Folia Linguistica* (Mouton de Gruyter -
Societas Linguistica Europaea) 45 (1): 31-80.

Schiering, René, Balthsar Bickel, and Kristine A. Hildebrandt. 2010. "The
prosodic word is not unviersal, but emergent." *Journal of Linguistics* 46
(03): 657-709.

Tallman, Adam J.R., and Patience Epps. forthcoming. "Morphological
complexity, autonomy, and areality in Amazonia." In *Morphological
complexity (volume 1)*, edited by Gardanci Francesci and Peter Arkadiev.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tallman, Adam J.R., Dennis Wylie, Eric Adell, Natalia Bermudez, Gladys
Camacho, Patience Epps, Michael Everdell, Ambrocio Gutierrez, Cristian
Juarez, and Anthony C. Woodbury. 2018. "Constituency and the
morphology-syntax divide in the languages of the Americas: towards a
distributional typology." *21st Annual Workshop on American Indigenous
Languages.* University of California Santa Barbara.
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