[Lingtyp] Call for expressions of interest: Theme session ALT 2019 - Typologising the noun phrase: Beyond (non-)configurationality

Dana Louagie dana.louagie at kuleuven.be
Mon Oct 29 09:55:44 UTC 2018

Call for expressions of interest: Theme session at ALT13 (Pavia, 4-6 September 2019)
Typologising the noun phrase: Beyond (non-)configurationality
Dana Louagie (University of Leuven) & Uta Reinöhl (University of Cologne)
Expression of interest: before 12 November 2018
Please contact us by email (dana.louagie at kuleuven.be<mailto:dana.louagie at kuleuven.be>; uta.reinoehl at uni-koeln.de<mailto:uta.reinoehl at uni-koeln.de>) with a provisional title.

In the nominal domain, languages are often categorised as either having classic, rigidly structured NPs (like English), or as lacking phrasal structure altogether (like Nunggubuyu, Australia), a distinction that is often linked with the more general concept of (non-)configurationality (e.g. Hale 1983; Heath 1986). However, there is wide-ranging evidence in the literature that the picture is far more complex than a simple dichotomy suggests. There are also several studies that do not think in these binary terms including Croft (2007), Krasnoukhova (2012), Schultze-Berndt & Simard (2012), Louagie & Verstraete (2016), Louagie (2017). However, a comprehensive typology is still wanting. The aim of this theme session is to build on this literature and on cross-linguistic studies of the NP such as Rijkhoff (2002), in order to try and develop an alternative typology that deals with the full range of structural diversity in the nominal domain.
A first complication for the existing dichotomy is that many languages actually show mixed evidence: they have a range of structures available, some of which may correspond to 'classic' NPs and others that do not. For example, Kanum (New Guinea, Donohue 2010) is described as having a hierarchically structured DP with strictly ordered elements and right-edge case marking, but also allows for discontinuous structures. Another example is Panare (Cariban; Payne 1993; see also Krasnoukhova [2012] for broader typological context), which has flexibly ordered nominal expressions and discontinuous structures, but also a few tightly ordered expressions (e.g. numerals always precede the head noun when the NP is in clause-initial position). A final example is that several Australian languages have flexibly ordered nominal expressions which sometimes, but not always, show phrasal case marking (e.g. Louagie & Verstraete 2016: 46-49).
Second, traditional 'non-configurational' features like flexible internal order or discontinuity can also be analysed in other ways, which do not involve positing a complete absence of phrasal structure. Discontinuity may be treated as a separate structural type rather than as evidence against NP phrasehood across a whole language (e.g. Croft 2007: 27-30; Louagie & Verstraete 2016: 49-54), for example because its use is often functionally motivated (e.g. Siewierska [1984] for Polish; Reinholtz [1999] for Swampy Cree; Schultze-Berndt & Simard [2012] for Jaminjung). A partially related approach is to account for ordering constraints in terms of "functional templates", where ordering is determined on the basis of functional roles such as qualifying, classifying, or entity-denoting ones, as proposed by McGregor (1990) for Gooniyandi.
Finally, diachronic studies have shown that NP configurationality is an emergent phenomenon, in that, for example, it arises as a by-product of the grammaticalization of articles (see e.g. the cross-linguistic study of Himmelmann [1997]) or of adpositions (e.g. Reinöhl [2016] on Indo-Aryan). It has been shown that, at least in some cases, nominal expressions historically gain in internal structure in a gradual manner, which suggests that we are not dealing with a binary distinction of expressions being phrasally organized or not (e.g. Van de Velde [2009], [2010] on the emergence of determiner and modifier slots, and increasing numbers of slot-fillers, in the history of the Dutch NP; Reinöhl [2016] on the gradual emergence of a paradigm of postpositions in Indo-Aryan).
These data and analyses suggest that the time is ripe to develop an alternative typology of structural diversity in the nominal domain, which goes beyond the basic dichotomy between presence or absence of phrasal structures, and takes into account the full range of structures available. The aim of this theme session is to bring together work on languages or language families that show 'non-classical' features as well as 'classical' ones in the nominal domain, and to examine their significance for the typology of NPs. Possible topics include:

(i)               Descriptive accounts: analysis of the range of nominal structures available, and motivations (syntactic, semantic, discursive) for their distribution within and across languages

(ii)              Theoretical accounts: alternative analyses for the occurrence or use of 'non-classical' features, instead of as mere symptoms of (non-)configurationality

(iii)            Typological accounts: areal or genetic distribution of patterns
(iv)            Historical accounts: changes in the range of structures available in the nominal domain over time
We plan to provide a target paper, which surveys the literature and presents a number of questions participants can use to structure their papers.

12 November 2018: expression of interest
25 November 2018: notification of acceptance for theme sessions
End of January 2019: deadline for abstract submissions (if proposal is accepted)
4-6 September 2019: ALT13, Pavia
(Information about the conference: https://sites.google.com/universitadipavia.it/alt2019/home)

Croft, William. 2007. Intonation units and grammatical structure in Wardaman and in cross-linguistic perspective. Australian Journal of Linguistics 27:1. 1-39.
Donohue, Mark. 2011. Case and configurationality: scrambling or mapping? Morphology 21. 499-513.
Hale, Ken. 1983. Warlpiri and the grammar of non-configurational languages. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 1. 5-74.
Heath, Jeffrey. 1986. Syntactic and lexical aspects of nonconfigurationality in Nunggubuyu (Australia). Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 4(3). 375-408.
Himmelmann, Nikolaus. 1997. Deiktikon, Artikel, Nominalphrase: Zur Emergenz syntaktischer Struktur. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Krasnoukhova, Olga. 2012. The noun phrase in the languages of South America. Nijmegen: Radboud Universiteit doctoral dissertation.
Louagie, Dana & Jean-Christophe Verstraete. 2016. Noun phrase constituency in Australian languages: A typological study. Linguistic Typology 20. 25-80.
Louagie, Dana. 2017. A typological study of noun phrase structures in Australian languages. Leuven: KU Leuven dissertation.
McGregor, William. 1990. A functional grammar of Gooniyandi. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Payne, Doris L. 1993. Nonconfigurationality and discontinuous expressions in Panare. Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: Special Session on Syntactic Issues in Native American Languages. 121-138.
Reinholtz, Charlotte. 1999. On the characterization of discontinuous constituents: Evidence from Swampy Cree. International Journal of American Linguistics 65(2). 201-227.
Reinöhl, Uta. 2016. Grammaticalization and the Rise of Configurationality in Indo-Aryan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rijkhoff, Jan. 2002. The noun phrase. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schultze-Berndt, Eva & Candide Simard. 2012. Constraints on noun phrase discontinuity in an Australian language: The role of prosody and information structure. Linguistics 50(5). 1015-1058.
Siewierska, Anna. 1984. Phrasal discontinuity in Polish. Australian Journal of Linguistics 4(1). 57-71.
Van de Velde, Freek. 2009. De nominale constituent: Structuur en geschiedenis. Leuven: Universitaire Pers Leuven.
Van de Velde, Freek. 2010. The emergence of the determiner in the Dutch NP. Linguistics 48. 263-299.

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