[Lingtyp] Workshop ALT: Situating constituency within typological research

Adam James Ross Tallman ajrtallman at utexas.edu
Tue Mar 22 07:19:56 UTC 2022

Hello all,

Please see the following ALT workshop on constituency below & consider
submitting an abstract. It is due April 1st.

*ALT 2022 Workshop*
*Situating constituency within typological research*
*Organizers by Jeff Good and Adam Tallman*

Studies of constituency normally focus on the analysis of a single language
and center around issues such as how robust the distinction is between
words and phrases in a language or whether there is evidence for
significant hierarchical structure within its clauses. However, despite its
centrality to many theoretical approaches to the study of grammar,
constituency has yet to be considered systematically from a typological
perspective. On the methodological side, key concerns center around the
fact that so-called constituency “tests” do not necessarily converge on a
single constituency analysis for a given structure. Some analysts (e.g.,
Croft 2001) have taken this to suggest that attempts to provide
constituency analyses for linguistic elements should be abandoned, while
others view the issue in terms of making sure that only the “right”
constituency tests are employed (e.g., Carnie 2008). Related issues have
emerged in the context of phonological constituency. Typological studies
have argued that the attested diversity of phonological domains is
inconsistent with theoretical approaches to phonological constituency such
as those associated with the prosodic hierarchy (e.g. Bickel et al. 2009).
Other researchers have responded to this by pointing out that a more
flexible model of phonological constituency might be able to handle this
diversity (Bennet & Elfner 2018).

On the theoretical side, an important concern is whether there will always
be a clear-cut distinction between morphosyntactic constituency and
phonological constituency in every language, without a need to posit any
other kinds of constituency (Tallman 2021). On the typological side, many
significant questions remain open, such as whether all languages show
apparent clustering of domains over which morphosyntactic and phonological
generalizations apply in a way that is suggestive of the presence
of constituency, whether such clusters pattern in a way that is consistent
with commonly employed notions such as word and phrase (or more
theoretically oriented analogs such as X⁰ and XP), and what the global
distribution is of different kinds of phenomena typically associated with
constituency. In addition, there is the question of how patterns of
constituency emerge historically and whether a diachronic approach to
constituency may be more effective at accounting for observed
typological generalizations than a synchronic one.

The goal of this workshop is to launch a discussion of constituency from a
typological perspective, especially in light of recent advances in
quantitative approaches to typology and the study of grammar. Questions to
be considered include what features of theoretical approaches to
constituency can be usefully adapted for typological investigation, what
kinds of coding and data analysis strategies are needed to study
constituency typologically, and how the tools of typology can be used to
shed light on traditional distinctions, such as the contrast between *word*
 and *phrase*, and determine the extent to which such categories can be
considered cross-linguistically valid. An additional consideration will be
the extent to which observed typological patterns of constituency can be
linked to patterns of language use. Contributions exploring concerns
emanating from formal linguistic theories, such as so-called bracketing
paradoxes or discontinuous constituents, from a typological perspective,
are also welcome. While the focus of the workshop is the typology of
constituency, papers focusing on specific languages will also be considered
as long as they situate their results with respect to broader typological

Possible talks topics may include, but are not limited to:

   - Examinations of how to apply constituency tests proposed in the
   literature to typologically diverse languages
   - Comparisons of different constituency tests with attempts to assess
   how useful and reliable they are
   - Discussions of how the results of constituency tests can be coded in a
   way which allows for rigorous typological analysis
   - Consideration of the word/phrase distinction in morphosyntax and
   phonology and what kinds of data and methods are required to resolve
   debates around the validity of the distinction
   - The role of templates, and similar kinds of restrictions on linear
   realization, in understanding the typology of constituency
   - Studies of constituent structure in specific languages situated with
   respect to larger typological questions of constituency

Bennett, R., & Elfner, E. (2019). The Syntax-Prosody Interface. Annual
Review of Linguistics, 5, 151-171.

Bickel, B., Hildebrandt, K. A., & Schiering, R. (2009). The distribution of
phonological word domains: A probabilistic typology. In J. Grijzenhout, &
K. Baris (Eds.), Phonological Domains: Universals and Deviations (pp.
47–75). De Gruyter Mouton.

Carnie, A. (2000). On the definition of X0 and XP. Syntax, 3(2), 59–106.

Croft, W. (2001). Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in
Typological Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tallman, A. J. (2021). Constituency and coincidence in Chácobo (Pano).
Studies in Language, 45, 321–383.

*Information on submitting an abstract can be found on the general ALT 2022
abstract submission page:*

Please make sure to put the workshop title,* Situating constituency within
typological research*, at the top of your abstract.

Abstract submission deadline: 1 April 2022

*For more information, please contact the organizers:*
Jeff Good:  jcgood at buffalo.edu
Adam Tallman :  adam.james.ross.tallman at uni-jena.de

Adam J.R. Tallman
Post-doctoral Researcher
Friedrich Schiller Universität
Department of English Studies
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