For the sake of clarity: when submitting an abstract to a particular workshop, please add the name of the workshop in the left-hand corner of your abstract (as well as in the body of the Easy Abstracts message). Submission of all abstracts (incuding to individual workshops) through Easy Abstracts ( NOTE: The submission deadline has been extended to November 15, 2012.

Workshop 1: Language Change in Real Time

Frans Gregersen (Copenhagen), Helge Sandøy (Bergen) & Höskuldur Thráinsson (Reykjavík)

An important part of this workshop will be an overview of results of the “sister projects” LANCHART (Language Change in Real Time) in Copenhagen, the Norwegian project Dialect Change Processes in Bergen, and the RAUN project (Linguistic Change in Real Time in the Phonology and Syntax of Icelandic) in Reykjavík. We expect active participation of members of these research groups, but we also propose to invite papers on language change in real time from researchers outside these projects on topics of the following kind:

  • phonetic and phonological variation and change in real time
  • morphological and syntactic variation and change in real time
  • approaches to semantic variation and change in real time
  • problems of creating corpora documenting language change in real time
  • evidence and discussions of language attitudes in real time
  • the relationship between apparent and real time

Workshop 2: Foundations of Language Standardization

Ásta Svavarsdóttir (Reykjavík) & Guðrún Þórhallsdóttir (Reykjavík)

Language standardization and standard languages have attracted considerable attention in sociolinguistics (cf. Daumert and Vandenbussche (2003) for a comparative overview of the Germanic languages, and Kristiansen and Coupland (2011) on the current situation in Europe). This workshop will adress language standardization and its foundations from different perspectives. Papers on the linguistic, sociolinguistic, pragmatic and ideological foundations of standard languages, and of the process of standardization are welcome. We seek presentations of diachronic as well as synchronic studies, and on the development and interrelation of linguistic and sociolinguistic change and the prevailing language attitudes and ideology in the community.

This workshop is organized in connection with the research project “Language Change and Linguistic Variation in 19th-Century Icelandic and the Emergence of a National Standard” (funded by the Icelandic Research Fund/Rannís).

Workshop 3: Abstractness in Phonology

Haukur Þorgeirsson (Reykjavík)

An unresolved issue in the lively phonological discourse in the seventies and eighties, starting with Chomsky and Halle’s Sound Pattern of English (1968), is the so-called abstractness problem, reflected in the title of Paul Kiparsky’s monograph: How
abstract is phonology?
(published in the same year). In this workshop we would like to coordinate contributions which touch on issues of abstractness in a rather general sense. Among the questions that we would like to keep in mind are the following:

  • Is the traditional phoneme (or segment for that matter) a legitimate abstraction?
  • Are forms with segments or features that do not surface in output legitimate as              inputs to a system of phonological rules or constraints?
  • To what extent may phonology be “used” in order to account for allomorphy?
  • How (and in what sense) “psychologically real” are some of the “abstract” or   “concrete” representations used in current phonology?
  • Does the distinction sometimes made between “morphophonemic” and             “automatic” alternations reflect a real psychological division?
  • If phonology is regarded as a “mental module”, how does it interact with other               mental modules?
  • What constitutes evidence one way or the other?
  • What does historical change tell us about phonological structure?

We hope, at the same time as the papers in the workshop keep these fundamental questions in mind, that individual case studies will contribute to the “body of linguistic fact” regarding phonological structure.

Workshop 4: Formal Ways of Analyzing Variation

Anton Karl Ingason (Philadelphia) & Einar Freyr Sigurðsson (Philadelphia)

This workshop is a venue for case studies on formal analyses of variation and its implications on grammatical theory, acquisition and change. A specific focus will be on the use of methodology which provide ready access to data and development tools to facilitate replication and extension of research results. The session aims to investigate the empirical content of analyses of speaker variation. Representative research questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the limits of variation?
  • Do our analyses provide unifying accounts for apparently disparate clusters of linguistic properties?
  • How does the child analyze a heterogeneous pool of primary linguistic data?
  • What types of diachronic trajectories are consequences of language acquisition under variation?
  • Is the statistical distribution of variation constrained by grammatical factors?
  • How do we make the best use of statistical tools for formal linguistic analysis?
  • On a more practical note, the session hopes to contribute to the the practice of replicability, data access, and collaborative development.
  • What does the variation attach to?

We also ask about the relationship between the linguistic machinery and the mechanisms that are responsible for how a speakers alternate between functionally equivalent variants. Further representative questions include:

  • Where does the variation come from and how can we distinguish the formal    models empirically?
  • How do we know which type of mechanism is responsible for which part of     language usage?
  • How does a formal analysis of variation handle different domains of language and         the interfaces between them?

Workshop 5: Information Structure in Scandinavian Languages

Elisabet Engdahl & Maia Andréasson (Gothenburg)

The Scandinavian languages provide a particularly interesting area for investigating the relation between word order, prosody and information structure.  Like other Germanic languages, they are V2, but unlike Dutch and German the verb is initial in the VP, like in English. This has repercussions for the order in the midfield, in particular for Object Shift. One factor that has been shown to influence word order is the so-called cognitive status of the antecedent (cf. Gundel et al. 1993, Andréasson 2010, Ørsnes 2012), but more research is needed to clarify the interaction between cognitive status and the information structural realization of topic and focus.

Since topicalization and left dislocation are easy to distinguish in V2-languages, data from Scandinavian languages provide a good testing ground for the informational impact of these constructions. Furthermore, investigations of presentational and clefting constructions may be used to bring light on how speakers structure their messages to convey what should be taken as new information and what can be assumed or accommodated (cf. Søfteland 2012). But in some dialects, clefting has become a grammaticalized unmarked form, used for instance in subject questions.

A lot of earlier research built exclusively on constructed data, but with the advent of spoken language corpora such as the Nordic Dialect Corpus (Johannesen et al. 2009) we are now in a position where we can investigate both in what contexts speakers use constructions such as topicalization, clefting and unshifted object pronouns, and how they are realized prosodically.

The papers in this theme session will address questions like the following:

  • How is the combination of V2 and V-initial in VP exploited in information structure?
  • What motivates fronting to preverbal position in declarative clauses?
  • What does embedded topicalization reveal about the information structure of subordinate clauses?
  • In what ways are anaphoric relations to antecedents reflected in word order preferences?
  • What does the use of clefts reveal about the information exchange?

Workshop 6: Language Change and Linguistic Variation in the Medieval North

Haraldur Bernharðsson (Reykjavík)

The written historical records available to us are the most important source of evidence for the historical development of language. The comparison of written records from two successive stages of a language allows us to identify indications of language change.

Similarly, the comparison of two or more contemporary sources may enable us to discern signs of linguistic variation. Such a cross-sectional study of a variety of sources from the same period  – medieval manuscripts, charters or other sources written by two or more contemporary scribes – may thus provide evidence on the spread of language change in the speech community, geographical and social variation.  Examination of, for instance, contemporary medieval sources from Iceland and Norway will show on the one hand changes that had started to gain ground in Norwegian but are altogether absent or barely incipient in Icelandic, and on the other hand changes that were in progress in Icelandic, but are never found in Norwegian sources.

This session welcomes papers on the interpretation of historical records as evidence for linguistic change and linguistic variation in any of the early (North) Germanic languages.

Workshop 7: Syntax and Semantics of Adjectives

Alexander Pfaff (Tromsø/Reykjavík)

With a few exceptions, adjectives were larely ignored in the main stream literature for a long time – and undeservedly so. Adjectives pose a range of fascinating problems and challenges to Linguistic Theory, syntactically, semantically, morphologically, and typologically. The very label ‘adjective’ is problematic in certain instances.

In recent years, this has changed and much intensive research into the various aspects of adjectives has been conducted, often with surprising results. This workshop aims at providing a forum to present and discuss current research on the syntax and semantics of adjectives. Central questions we seek to address include, but are not restricted to:

  • The internal and external syntax of adjectives
  • (Morpho-) Syntactic decomposition of adjectives/AP
  • The extended adjectival projection
  • Adjective or determiner?
  • Position & function of APs within the extended nominal projection
  • (Dis-) Concord/Agreement within the DP
  • “Attributive” vs. “predicative” adjectives
  • Structure-meaning correlations how does the structural configuration determine the interpretation of the adjective/DP?
  • Two sources of adnominal adjectives? (cf. Cinque 2010)
  • Prenominal vs. postnominal adjectives
  • Referential properties of DP (generic, specific, unique, salient …) and the (non-) contribution of the adjective
  • Comparative aspects of adjectives (all possible readings!)

Workshop 8: Morphosyntactic Variation and Change in Germanic

Tonya Kim Dewey (Bergen), Jóhanna Barðdal (Bergen) & Carlee Arnett (UCDavis)

The proposed thematic session is intended to cover a range of current topics within the Germanic languages, both synchronic and diachronic, including the interrelation between variation and change, dialectal variation, intra-Germanic variation, as well as asynchronous comparative Germanic investigations. The panel strives to embody a variety of perspectives on linguistic variation, with case studies on phenomena such as resultatives, impersonal passives, reflexive motion verbs, causatives, oblique subject constructions, as well as other morphosyntactic properties of the Germanic languages.

Workshop 9: Sign Linguistics

Rannveig Sverrisdóttir (Reykjavík)

Sign languages are in many ways similar to spoken languages despite different modalities. These similarities include conventional vocabularies, meaningful units built of smaller meaningless units, and productivity in the lexicon and grammar. The recognition of these fundamental similarities is fairly recent as sign languages have only been a topic of linguistic research since Stokoe (1960). In recent years, the field has been growing as more and more sign languages have been explored and research on sign languages has  become increasingly more specialized. This can be seen quite clearly in Iceland where research on Icelandic Sign Language (ÍTM, íslenskt táknmál) has advanced rapidly in the past few years. In view of this, we believe that Iceland is a good place to host a workshop on sign linguistics. The main purpose of the workshop is to bring together sign language researchers who want to present their latest work to an audience consisting of sign language specialists as well as linguists working on spoken languages.

Workshop 10: Syntactic Variation in Scandinavia

Halldór Ármann Sigurðsson (Lund) & Jim Wood (Yale)

Syntactic variation in Scandinavian languages has played a prominent role in the development of general syntactic theory and it has also been subject to much empirical research in recent years (NORMS, ScanDiaSyn, N’CLAV, etc.). We hope to receive abstracts on a broad range of theoretical and empirical issues regarding syntactic variation within Scandinavia, in non-Scandinavian languages (Inuit, Sami, Finnish, Romani, etc.) as well as Scandinavian languages in the narrow sense. Among the issues we hope to address are the following:

  • Agree and agreement (Sigurðsson & Holmberg 2008, Ussery 2009, Wood & E. Sigurðsson 2011)
  • Case and case (Svenonius 2007, Barðdal 2009, Jónsson & Eythórsson 2011, Brattico 2011, Vainikka 2011, Åfarli & Fjøsne 2012, Sigurðsson 2012, Wood 2012)
  • Impersonal arguments and constructions; expletives (Eythórsson 2008, Jónsson 2009, Sigurðsson & Egerland 2009, Maling et al. 2011, Schäfer 2012, E. Sigurðsson 2012)
  • Nominalizations (Andersen 2007, Lundquist 2011, Brattico & Leinonen 2009, Fábregas 2012, Ingason 2012)
  • Object Shift (Bošković 2007, Andreasson 2009, Engels & Vikner 2010, Josefsson 2010, Mikkelsen 2011, Andersen & Benzen 2012)
  • Pro drop, topic drop, PRO (Landau & Bobaljik 2008, Holmberg et al. 2009, Holmberg 2010, Eide 2011, Rosenkvist 2011, Sigurðsson 2011)
  • Reflexives, pronouns, and Binding Theory (Lødrup 2009, Platzack 2008, Josefsson 2009, Strahan 2011, Heinat 2010, Árnadóttir et al. 2011, Jónsson 2011, Harðarson 2011, Wood & E. F. Sigurðsson 2011)
  • Stylistic Fronting (Franco 2009, Ott 2009, Molnár 2010, Wood 2011, Egerland 2011)
  • Verb Raising and Verb Second (Julien 2007, Wiklund et al. 2009, Petersson 2009, Thráinsson 2010, Haycock 2011, Hosono 2011, Angantýsson 2011)

Note that this workshop has specific abstract requirements:

“Abstracts, including everything, must not exceed two A4 pages in length (12pt) – examples must be integrated throughout the text.”


Workshop 11: Syntactic Issues in Language Acquisition

Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir (Reykjavík)

Since the introduction of generative grammar (Chomsky 1957), a central aim of linguistic theory has been to explain how children arrive at the target (or adult) grammar. This question is often referred to as the “logical problem of language acquisition.” It is the problem of explaining how most children come to know their native language very rapidly and in a fairly uniform fashion in spite of the so-called “poverty of the stimulus.” However, since language acquisition is far from “instantaneous,” the task of acquisitionists is to balance the “logical problem of language acquisition” with facts of language development. Acquisition theory must explain the gradual, stage-wise development which takes place during early childhood.

Largely due to the emphasis of the generative framework on innate principles, the syntactic component of the grammar has been a prominent research area within the field of language acquisition. Cross-linguistic research on various aspects of syntactic development has yielded interesting results and shed light on the interaction of syntax with other components of the grammar, e.g., morphology, semantics, pragmatics, and processing systems. It has long been maintained (since at least Halle 1962) that children acquiring a language play a major role as instigators of change. Thus, the relationship between language acquisition and syntactic variation and change is relevant. With the advancement of the field, its methods have become more sophisticated. In concert with methodological considerations, linguists are also now examining the interplay between syntax per se and processing systems such as those that support language comprehension and production. These issues thus continue to play an important role in research on childrenʼs underlying syntactic competence. Issues having to do with the input that the child receives also play a role in the acquisition of syntax, as in other linguistic domains. With these issues in mind, the workshop on Syntactic Issues in Language Acquisition will focus on:

  • the development of various aspects of syntax
  • the syntactic, morphological and/or semantic interface in acquisition
  • the relationship between language acquisition and syntactic variation and change
  • the techniques used to elicit syntactic structures in acquisition research
  • the interplay between the acquisition of syntax and processing systems
  • how input issues play a role in the acquisition of syntax

Workshop 12: Argument Realisation of GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE Verbs in Functionally Motivated Approaches 

Gudrun Rawoens (Gent), Brian Nolan (Dublin), Elke Diedrichsen (Dublin) & Ilona Tragel (Tartu)

The purpose of the workshop is to examine and discuss recent and current work in the use of functional, cognitive and constructional approaches to understanding the cross linguistic behaviour of the verbs GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE.

Contributions that offer a treatment of one or more of these verbs are very welcome.

The workshop will address the following main topics and research issues with respect to understanding the cross linguistic behaviour of the verbs GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE:

  • Mapping at the semantic-syntactic interface across these verbs
  • The argument structure of GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE verbs
  • The lexical semantics and event structure of GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE verbs
  • Argument realisation of GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE verbs in morphosyntax
  • The encoding of the significant thematic roles in these 3place syntactic constructions
  • Symmetries and asymmetries in the encoding of arguments in constructions using GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE verbs
  • Grammaticalisation with GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE
  • GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE in a constructional perspective
  • Information structure in constructions with GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE

The organisers of this workshop are a European group of linguists and computational linguists and computer scientists who have collaborated at various Societas Linguistica Europaea workshops and in the publication of the special issue of Linguistics (2012: 50-6) on GET verbs in European languages. The selection of GET verbs as a research topic was motivated in several ways and explained by their high frequency, their formal and semantic complexity, their high variability in cross linguistic comparisons and their susceptibility to semantic extension and to grammaticalization. There is already a substantial body of research on GIVE verbs, the verbal converses of GET verbs (Newman 1996 and Newman 1998).

The aim of the workshop is to draw a comprehensive, representative and detailed picture of the vast polysemy, multifunctionality and dynamics of GET, GIVE, PUT and TAKE verbs across languages. As these are highly dynamic verbs, their semantic and grammatical changes as well as their synchronic variation offer many research opportunities. However, we need to understand the behaviours and also syntactic construction patterns of these verbs in considerably more detail.