Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Call for papers: Complex sentences, types of embedding, & recursivity

Complex Sentences, Types of Embedding, and Recursivity

Invited Speakers: Uli Sauerland (ZAS, Berlin), Edwin Williams (Princeton), Jan-Wouter Zwart (Groningen)

Date: 05-Mar-2012 - 06-Mar-2012
Location: Konstanz, Germany
Contact Person: Andreas Trotzke
Meeting Email: compsent2012@googlemail.com

Call Deadline: 15-Nov-2011

Complex sentences have always been a matter of intense investigation in linguistics. Since complex syntax is clearly evidenced by sentential embedding and since embedding of one sentence in another is taken to signal recursivity of the grammar, the capacity of computing complex sentences is of central interest to the recent hypothesis that syntactic recursion is the defining property of natural language. In the light of more recent claims that complex syntax is not a universal property of all living languages, the issue of how to detect and define syntactic complexity has become a much debated topic in current linguistics.

This workshop deals with the variability, but also with the universality of complex sentences both from a synchronic and from a diachronic perspective. Specifically, are there living or dead languages that lack complex sentences, and what would the evidence consist of? Or can it be shown that sentence embedding is present even in the most controversial cases? These issues pertain to what types of embedding can be distinguished and what kind of basic procedures are underlying them. In particular, are there fundamentally different modes of embedding for clauses and other syntactic constituents? Is there a single criterion for clausal embedding, or does one need to distinguish different types such as sentences with or without a complementizer, nominalizations, different types of infinitives, etc.? Are recursive procedures a sine qua non for complex syntax, or do iterative rather than recursive mechanisms suffice to generate sentence-level embedding? What is the place of recursiv
ity in the grammar then?

The workshop also aims at connecting the issue of complex sentences to interdisciplinary domains of research. How much of a role has the computation of complex sentences played in human evolution? Specifically, has the capacity of sentence embedding been shaped by cultural constraints and thus evolved by some 'ratchet effect' assumed in theories of cultural evolution? Or is it more plausible to hypothesize slight genetic changes causing a 'great leap forward'?

Workshop Organizers: Andreas Trotzke, Josef Bayer & Antje Lahne

Call for Papers:
We invite submissions of anonymous abstracts for 40 minute talks including discussion. Submissions should not exceed one page, 12pt. single spaced, with an optional additional page for examples and references. Either PDF or Word format is accepted. Please upload your abstracts at http://linguistlist.org/confcustom/CompSent2012 by the deadline listed below. The submissions will be reviewed anonymously.

Important Dates:
Submission deadline: 15 November 2011
Notification: 1 December 2011
Workshop: 5-6 March 2012

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