The Shaping of Transitivity and Argument Structure: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

Country: Italy

City: Pavia

Abstr. due: 31.03.2018

Dates: 25.10.18 — 27.10.18

Area Of Sciences: Humanities;

Organizing comittee e-mail: silvia.luraghi@unipv.it; chiara.zanchi01@unipv.it

Organizers: International Committee

 

The concept of transitivity is crucial for different linguistic fields, including linguistic typology, historical linguistics, and theoretical syntax. Since Hopper & Thompson (1980), transitivity has been viewed as a prototypical notion (cf. Naess 2007) and as a property of sentences/utterances, which crucially manifests itself in the realization of verbal arguments (Gelderen et al. 2013). Verbal argument realization and alternations have been given different explanations, including inherent semantic properties of verbal classes (e.g. Baker & Ruppenhofer 2002; Levin & Rappaport-Hovav 2005), of verbal frames (e.g. Fillmore & Atkins 1992), or of specific constructions in Construction Grammar (Goldberg 1995; Croft 1998; Iwata 2005). From a typological standpoint, the notions of transitivity and argument realization can be combined by cross-linguistically comparing valency classes at a synchronic level (as in The Leipzig Valency Classes Project; Malchukov & Comrie 2015). Moreover, several studies have shown the relevance of reanalysis contexts for grammaticalized structures and the rise of alignment systems (Harris & Campbell 1995; Haig 2008; Gildea 2000).

By contrast, a systematic cross-linguistic investigation of the origins and motivations behind the development of argument structure and alignment patterns is still lacking in the diachronically oriented typological literature. An account of the general implications of such diachronic studies is still at need. Given this background, efforts toward the construction and development of linguistic resources are also of crucial importance both for linguistic analysis and for possible computational applications. Relevant examples include ValPal database, an outgrowth of the The Leipzig Valency Classes Project (Hartmann, Haspelmath & Taylor 2013), the Proposition Bank (PropBank) (Kingsbury & Palmer 2002; Palmer et al. 2005) and VerbNet (Kipper-Schuler 2005) for English, and T-PAS (Ježek et al. 2014) for Italian.

The conference aims to investigate the shaping of transitivity, argument structure and alignment patterns over time, with particular regard to the evolution of voice systems, (in)transitive alternations, and non-finite syntax. The general goal is to bring together insights from language change, language reconstruction, and language typology in light of current theories of argument realization and the encoding of the argument structure of verbs and clauses. Contributions on general theoretical issues, methodological issues, data collection, and the development of language resources are equally welcome.

The conference aims to investigate the shaping of transitivity, argument structure and alignment patterns over time, with particular regard to the evolution of voice systems, (in)transitive alternations, and non-finite syntax. The general goal is to bring together insights from language change, language reconstruction, and language typology in light of current theories of argument realization and the encoding of the argument structure of verbs and clauses. Contributions on general theoretical issues, methodological issues, data collection, and the development of language resources are equally welcome.

We invite abstracts dealing with the following or other related issues:

  • Theoretical issues and approaches to the study of transitivity-related phenomena over time
  • Methodological issues on data collection and analysis of transitivity-related phenomena over time
  • Diachronic changes within voice systems and voice-related categories, (in)transitive alternations, and non-finite syntax in individual languages or across languages
  • Cross-linguistic analysis of alignment system evolution
  • Diachronic corpus-based investigations of argument structure patterns in individual languages
  • The frequency, productivity, reanalysis, and distribution of rival argument structure patterns over time
  • Competing motivations behind the distribution of rival synchronic argument structure patterns
  • The developments of verbs' argument structure patterns across different languages
  • Basic valency orientation, its changes over time in individual languages, the limits and perspectives of its reconstruction in proto-languages
  • Sources, reanalysis, and patterns of polysemy of valency changing markers
  • The role of language contact in the development of transitivity related phenomena
  • Issues in the creation and development of electronic resources (digitalized texts, databases, treebanks, tools etc.) for the study of transitivity related phenomena

Conference Web-Site: https://sites.google.com/universitadipavia.it/tasf/stas2018-conference-the-shaping-of-transitivity-and-argument-structure?authuser=0