[Lingtyp] Interrogativity in the Uralic languages

Mus Nikolett mus.nikolett at gmail.com
Thu Oct 3 08:24:57 UTC 2019

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to inform you that the deadline of the symposium entitled
Interrogativity in the Uralic languages has been extended until *15th

*Meeting description*

The Symposium on Interrogativity in the Uralic languages will take place as
part of the programme of the XIII International Congress for Finno-Ugric
Studies in Vienna between 16–21 August 2020.

*Important dates*Paper Submission Deadline: *15th October*
Paper Acceptance Notification: 1 March 2020
Conference: 16–21 August 2020, Vienna

Abstracts are solicited for 20-minute presentations (followed by a 5-minute
question period) that approach interrogativity in Uralic languages
primarily from a syntactic and/or prosodic perspective. Abstracts, limited
to 3000 characters (including spaces), must be submitted using the
electronic submission tool of the conference (
https://cifu13.univie.ac.at/call/online-submission/). Please select
symposium B.5 Interrogativity in the Uralic languages. The language of the
symposium is English. Selected papers of the presentations will be
published in a special issue of the journal Finno-Ugric Languages and
Linguistics (FULL).

*Workshop details*
There are several approaches that categorize the types of clauses in the
known (natural) languages. One common classification concentrates on the
relation between the illocutionary force of the utterances, i.e., the
speech acts performed by the speaker in the utterance, and the syntactic
structure and prosody of the clauses leading to the differentiation of at
least three universal clause types, namely, declaratives, imperatives and

Root clause interrogatives are often differentiated on the basis of the
typical answer they require. The main subtypes are polar questions (which
can be answered by yes/no), alternative questions (which themselves include
alternative options for an answer) and constituent (or content) questions
(which expect an answer specified by the interrogative phrase they
contain). These question types are marked by various different strategies
across languages.

Although in recent years there has been a steady growth in the study of the
syntax of Uralic languages, interrogativity and interrogative constructions
have not been a matter of systematic research yet. The present symposium
aims to provide a forum for original research on constructions in the
Uralic languages which are typically, but not exclusively, used for
requesting information, i.e., constructions used as questions. We invite
submissions addressing questions in the following major topics in

(i) Intonation

In many languages, the intonational patterns of interrogatives differ from
those of declarative clauses. Considering the interrogative intonation
patterns cross-linguistically, the following questions might be raised: is
there a dedicated intonational pattern of the different question-types in
the Uralic languages? If so, is it only intonation that differentiates
interrogatives from other clause types? How do different pragmatic uses of
interrogatives differ in their intonation?

(ii) Morphemes

In some languages, there are morphemes employed for marking
interrogativity. The interrogative element can usually be a particle, a
tag, an inflectional suffix – such as the interrogative mood marker in some
Samoyedic languages – and (even) an interrogative verb. New questions which
have not been addressed before may be raised. These may include, but are
not limited to: the availability of such interrogative morphemes, their
position in the clause, their polarity, and their defectivities.
Additionally, in some languages it is the declarative clause type that is
marked by a marker, which is unavailable in interrogative clauses. Are
there such examples in the Uralic languages?

(iii) Syntax

In this domain the central empirical question to explore is what
differences, if any, the various interrogative constructions show in their
syntax as compared to declarative patterns. The following topics may be
highlighted: What is the distribution of interrogative phrases in
constituent questions (e.g. fronted, optionally fronted, in situ)? Is there
a dedicated position for syntactically marked interrogative phrases? If so,
how does the position of interrogative phrase(s) relate to the position of
focus in the language, i.e., do these elements occupy the same or different
syntactic positions? What characterizes the marking of focus and negation
in polar and alternative questions? If adjacency of interrogative phrases
to the verb figures in the syntax of constituent questions, how can it be
captured, and how can exceptions be explained? What syntactic strategies
are available to questions containing multiple interrogative phrases? What
asymmetries, if any, do root and non-root contexts exhibit with regard to
the syntactic marking strategies in interrogative clauses of any type? How
does syntactic marking interact with morphological and prosodic marking
within a question type? How do different pragmatic uses of interrogatives
differ in their syntax?

Bearing in mind that the main aim of the symposium is to provide
cross-linguistically comparable descriptions of interrogative constructions
in the Uralic languages, submissions employing a typological approach are
especially (but not exclusively) encouraged.

Nikolett Mus (Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of
Sciences), Katalin Mády (Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian
Academy of Sciences), Balázs Surányi (Research Institute for Linguistics,
Hungarian Academy of Sciences & Pázmány Péter Catholic University)

*Contact person*: Nikolett Mus (mus.nikolett at nytud.hu)


Nikolett Mus, PhD
MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet
Research Institute for Linguistics,
Hungarian Academy of Sciences

H-1068 Budapest
Benczúr u. 33
tel: 36-1-351-0413
fax: 36-1-322-9297
mus.nikolett at nytud.mta.hu
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