[Lingtyp] Call for expressions of interest: ALT 2019 Theme session Lexical restrictions on voice constructions

Lier, Eva van E.H.vanLier at uva.nl
Fri Oct 12 10:26:50 UTC 2018

Call for Expressions of Interest: Theme session at ALT13 (Pavia, 4–6 September 2019)
Lexical restrictions on grammatical relations in voice constructions
Conveners: Eva van Lier and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
In many languages, grammatical relations are to some extent lexically restricted, in the sense that some lexical verbs or verb-classes take different argument coding frames than others. Such lexical effects are especially well-studied with respect to so-called “non-canonical” case marking (e.g. Tsunoda 1985, Aikhenvald et al. 2001, Bhaskararao & Subbarao 2004, Bickel et al. 2014, Malchukov & Comrie 2015). Lexical effects on grammatical relations defining constructions other than case marking have also been reported. They seem to be particularly common with voice-related constructions, such as passive, antipassive, applicative, and causative.
However, the study of lexical restrictions on voice-related phenomena is mostly limited to investigations of individual languages (e.g. Blevins 2003 on passive, Arkadiev & Letuchiy 2008, Say 2008, Heaton 2017, Polinsky 2017 on antipassive). Moreover, while some studies assume that lexical restrictions are cross-linguistically recurrent and to a large extent semantically determined (e.g. Levin 1993), many cases of idiosyncratic lexical restrictions have also been identified and whole typologies of languages have been proposed in some frameworks as to how lexicon and syntax interact in voice constructions (e.g. Reinhart & Siloni 2005).
In short, despite the apparent pervasiveness of lexical effects voice constructions, detailed intra- and cross-linguistic studies about the behavior of specific (groups of) verbs and about various construction types is still largely lacking. In addition, little is known about clustering patterns across verbs, constructions, language families or areas, as well as about possible explanations for such patterns.

For our theme session proposal we invite contributions including, but not limited to, the following topics:

(i)                       Descriptive accounts of lexical restrictions on voice constructions in individual languages and/or across language families or areas;

(ii)                      Typological studies of these phenomena, addressing semantic, areal, genealogical, and/or structural motivations for recurrent patterns;

(iii)                    Diachronic studies on the development of these phenomena;

(iv)                    Corpus-based studies on the role of frequency in these phenomena;

(v)                      Experimental studies on processing aspects of these phenomena;

(vi)                    Studies on the theoretical implications of lexical restrictions on grammatical structure

Potential participants are invited to contact the conveners with an expression of interest, consisting of a preliminary title and a short (max. 300 words) abstract:

e.h.vanlier at uva.nl<mailto:e.h.vanlier at uva.nl>; witzlack at gmail.com<mailto:witzlack at googlemail.com>

Deadline: 11 November 2018

Other important dates

-           Notification of inclusion of title in the theme session proposal: 15 November 2018.

-           Notification of acceptance/rejection of the theme session proposal by the ALT13 organizers: 25 November 2018.

-           If our proposal is accepted, the theme session will be included in the final call for papers (end of November 2018, exact date t.b.a.).


Aikhenvald, Aleksandra Y., R. M. W. Dixon & Masayuki Onishi (eds.). 2001. Non-canonical marking of subjects and objects. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Arkadiev, Peter & Alexander Letuchiy. 2008. Derivacii antipassivnoj zony v adygejskom jazyke. In Vladmir Plungian & Sergey Tatevosov (eds.). Issledovanija po otglagol’noj derivacii, 77–102. Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskix kul’tur.

Bhaskararao, Peri & Karumuri Venkata Subbarao (eds.). 2004. Non-nominative subjects. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Bickel, Balthasar, Taras Zakharko, Lennart Bierkandt & Alena Witzlack-Makarevich. 2014. Semantic role clustering: an empirical assessment of semantic role types in non-default case assignment. Studies in Language 38, 485–511.

Blevins, James. 2003. Passives and impersonals. Journal of Linguistics 39, 473–520.

Heaton, Raina. 2017. A typology of antipassives, with special reference to Mayan. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa PhD dissertation.

Levin, Beth. 1993. English verb classes and alternations: A preliminary investigation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Malchukov, Andrej & Bernard Comrie (eds.). 2015. Valency classes in the world’s languages. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

Polinsky, Maria. 2017. Antipassive. In Jessica Coon, Diane Massam & Lisa deMena Travis (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity, 308–331. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reinhart, Tanya and Tal Siloni. 2005. The lexicon-syntax parameter: Reflexivization and other arity operations. Linguistic Inquiry 36(3):389-436.

Say, Sergey. 2008. K tipologii antipassivnyh konstrukcij: semantika, pragmatika, sintaksis: Russian academy of sciences PhD dissertation.

Tsunoda, Tasaku. 1985. Remarks on transitivity. Journal of Linguistics 21: 385–396.

Eva van Lier, PhD
Department of Linguistics
University of Amsterdam


P.C.Hoofthuis, kamer 6.45
Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam

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