Caen University, November 8-9, 2012

Non-canonical predicative relations

Organized by CRISCO (Caen University) and CONTRAGRAM (Ghent University)

Français - English

Conference program


Text of the call

The canonicity of argument-predicate relations is at the heart of syntactic theories. The predictive power of models of predicate-argument relations is what this conference aims to re-evaluate in the light of non-canonical predicative realizations. Such realizations can be illustrated by the following attested sequences, which are unexpected given the verbal predicates.

He was suicided. (Web example)

A 100% positive mind-set [...] creates you a better individual . (Web example)

When a visitor passes through the village, young lamas stop picking up trash to mug for the camera. A gruff ‘police monk’ barks them back to work. (Newsweek 10/13/97) (See Michaelis 2005)

The definition, identification and interpretation of non-canonical predicative relations are at stake. How are we to define the non-canonical ? This could be approached by characterizing what a prototypical predicative relation is. Which factors, structural, statistical or otherwise, do guide the recognition of non-canonical predicative relations ? These relations would be expected to impact on language variation and change and inform on the limits of grammaticality. How is the interpretation of relevant cases dealt with ? What is the respective role of general factors such as analogy and language-specific computation in this ? What communicative dimensions justify and motivate non-canonical realizations ?

Non-canonical predicative relations comprise argument reduction, demotion and extension, quirky argument marking and unexpected realizations (oblique subject and object marking, multiple realizations of the same argument). The papers will situate themselves with respect to existing analytical frameworks, and to the demands of compositionality, computationality and learnability. Issues of learnability and computationality are raised by approaches that posit as many different lexical items as there are constructions in which a verb enters. This may be addressed through correlations with aspectual categories, argumental hierarchies, or by valency-changing rules, which may operate in the lexicon or in syntax. Another approach is to relate underspecified verbal semantics to different constructional patterns. Whether these mechanisms meet the challenges of compositionality remains to be demonstrated.

We invite two-page abstracts spelling-out the research question, the language(s) studied and the data used, the explanation put forward, and the significance for current debates. Proposals should indicate whether they are amenable to poster format. Submissions should be made via EasyChair no later than APRIL 30th 2012. Information on the conference will be found on the CRISCO web page. The selected contributions are to provide a robust empirical coverage of non-canonical predicative configurations that illuminates the treatment of predicate-argument relations in general.

Organized jointly by the linguistics research centers of University of Caen and University of Ghent, the meeting aims to stimulate international research collaborations in frontier research, and therefore to encourage exchanges across languages and theoretical boundaries. The languages of the meeting will be French and English.

- Deadline for submission of abstracts : April 30 2012
- Notification of decisions : June 30 2012

E-mail :

Organising committee : Liliane Docquiert (Caen), Dominique Legallois (Caen), Thierry Ruchot (chair, Caen), Miriam Taverniers (Ghent), Marleen Van Peteghem (Ghent), Pascale van Praet (Caen)

Scientific committee : Jóhanna Barðdal (Bergen), Jacques François (Caen), Pierre Larrivée (chair, Caen), Peter Lauwers (Ghent), Nicole Le Querler (Caen), Beth Levin (Stanford), Andrej Malchukov (MPI), Yves Roberge (Toronto), Paul Rowlett (Salford), Robert Van Valin (Dusseldorf), Dominique Willems (Ghent)

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