NELS 40 - pronouns workshop

@ mit




Program now available!

Pronouns can vary along two dimensions: semantic (e.g., free vs. (syntactically) bound vs. e-type pronouns) and formal, i.e. morpho-syntactic or phonological (e.g., personal vs. clitic vs. null vs. demonstrative pronouns). Both dimensions have been studied a lot, but not always with consideration for the other dimension. The goal of this workshop is to bring together recent advances bearing exactly on the interplay of the two, e.g. how do choices along one dimension restrict the possible choices along the other one?

More specifically, questions like the following should be addressed for different languages: Are null pronouns more or less likely to be bound than overt pronouns and why? Are weak pronouns more or less likely to receive an e-type interpretation than strong pronouns and why? How do demonstrative pronouns behave cross-linguistically, and to what extent do their binding properties differ from those of personal pronouns within a certain language? Does the semantics of clitic pronouns differ from that of non-clitic pronouns? How many types of null pronouns are there (both within one language and across languages)? Do formal similarities between pronouns and determiners entail parallel semantic similarities? Do formal classes of pronouns impose different grammatical constraints on their antecedents?

Given that the semantic dimension has not been subject to enough cross-linguistic, typological research, we especially encourage submissions that address languages which are underrepresented in the previous semantic literature. Important questions which can only be addressed from a typological perspective include: What is the range of variation for formal classes and semantic properties of pronouns? How stable are the properties of pronominal classes across languages?

Ideal submissions to this workshop might involve approaches to questions like the above such as the following (individually or in combination):

  1. BulletFormal approaches to different aspects of pronominal semantics in a language other than English.

  2. BulletEmpirical discussions of novel facts relevant for the interface between pronominal form and pronominal semantics.

  3. BulletExtensions or modifications of current semantic approaches to pronouns accommodating other pronominal classes (e.g. null pronouns, demonstratives).

We invite submissions for 30 minute talks, followed by 10 minutes of comments and 10 minutes of questions and answers. The authors of accepted submissions will be asked to prepare a draft of the talk which can be sent to the commentator at least two weeks before the conference. General NELS guidelines for abstracts apply: abstracts must be anonymous, in pdf format, 2-page (a4 or letter), in a font size no less than 11 points, and with margins of 1 inch/2.5 cm. The deadline is August 21st, 2009.

The link for submitting abstracts is:

Semantics Workshop on Pronouns