Workshop on Impersonality and Correlated Phenomena: Diachronic and Synchronic Perspectives 2016 Salzburg

  • Conference Call
  • We are pleased to announce that the Work­shop on Imper­son­al­ity and Cor­re­lated Phe­nom­ena: Diachronic and Syn­chronic Per­spec­tives will take place at the Uni­ver­sity of Salzburg on Novem­ber 1011, 2016.

    The aim of this work­shop is to gain a more pro­found the­o­ret­i­cal under­stand­ing of the encod­ing of imper­son­al­ity on a syn­tac­tic and/​or a seman­tic level and to inves­ti­gate how imper­sonal con­struc­tions are inter­twined with other fac­tors within a lan­guage system.

    Invited Speakers

    • Dalina Kallulli (Uni­ver­sity of Vienna)
    • Flo­rian Schäfer (Hum­boldt Uni­ver­sity of Berlin)

    Work­shop Theme

    The notion of imper­son­al­ity gen­er­ally com­prises phe­nom­ena that show agent alternation/​defocusing/​absence or (de-)masking which include con­fig­u­ra­tions like (non-)referential indef­i­nite pro­nouns (fr. on, dt. man, nl. men, engl. one, sp. uno/​a, pt. a gente etc.), exple­tives, se-​constructions, periphrastic pas­sives, p-​labile verbs and (reflex­ively marked) anti­causative alter­na­tions, depo­nent verbs and their evo­lu­tion, mid­dles, etc.

    Fur­ther­more, we are espe­cially inter­ested in analy­ses that focus on how imper­sonal con­struc­tions are linked to other prop­er­ties of a lan­guage sys­tem, some of which are illus­trated here draw­ing on Romance languages:

    For exam­ple, in recent decades, it has been observed that there seems to be a rela­tion between the pro-​drop para­me­ter and the avail­abil­ity of imper­sonal se/​si (cf. Bel­letti 1982). Fur­ther evi­dence in this direc­tion is pro­vided by Brazil­ian Por­tuguese which is claimed to be a par­tial pro-​drop lan­guage and which shows con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ences in the use of se as com­pared to Euro­pean Por­tuguese, a con­sis­tent pro-​drop lan­guage (cf. Holm­berg et al 2009).

    An inter­est­ing case is also Old French whose pro-​drop sta­tus is widely debated (cf. Adams 1987, Vance 1997 and many oth­ers) and which also shows less flex­i­bil­ity in using se as com­pared to other Old Romance vari­eties. In oppo­si­tion to that, there are the­o­ret­i­cal imple­men­ta­tions that indi­cate that the cor­re­la­tion might not be as straight­for­ward as sketched above (cf. Dobrovie-​Sorin 1998, Roberts 2010). Another inter­est­ing ques­tion is how dif­fer­ent degrees of gram­mat­i­cal­iza­tion of imper­sonal con­struc­tions are linked to more gen­eral char­ac­ter­is­tics such as word order phe­nom­ena or high/​low Transitivity.

    In this respect it is inter­est­ing that we find so-​called man-​constructions in sev­eral Old Romance lan­guages (though with dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cies) regard­less of their null-​subject sta­tus: Old Span­ish om(n)e, Old Catalan/​Old Occ­i­tan (h)om, Old French om/​on etc. In later stages of the null-​subject lan­guages, man-​constructions become less fre­quent and in the case of Old Span­ish, omne got lost com­pletely in the 16th cen­tury (cf. Brown 1931). In Cata­lan hom is viewed as archaic and se is pre­ferred (cf. Bar­tra Kauf­mann 2002). How can we account for this pan-​romance evolution?

    More­over, we find dif­fer­ent degrees of gram­mat­i­cal­iza­tion among man-​constructions and in a last step of their gram­mat­i­cal­iza­tion paths man-​constructions tend to be rean­a­lyzed as plural mark­ers in some lan­guages like e.g. Abruzzese nomǝ or as a pro­noun that is able to refer to generic sub­jects as well as like Mod­ern French on. What fac­tors con­di­tion the dif­fer­ent degrees in gram­mat­i­cal­iza­tion cross-​linguistically? (cf. Giacalone Ramat/​Sansò 2007; D’Alessandro 2013).

    Other inter­est­ing ques­tions include:

    • How do imper­sonal con­struc­tions reflect dif­fer­ences in the inter­pre­ta­tion of the sub­ject as generic, arbi­trary, inclusion/​exclusion of the speaker/​or dis­course situation?
    • Why do some lan­guages clearly favor se-​constructions and why do oth­ers show a pref­er­ence for strate­gies like periphrastic passives?
    • What trig­gers p-​lability and why are there reflex­ively marked and non-​reflexively marked anticausatives?

    Work­shop Organisers

    • Peter Her­beck (Uni­ver­sity of Salzburg)
    • Bern­hard Pöll (Uni­ver­sity of Salzburg)
    • Anne Wolf­s­gru­ber (Uni­ver­sity of Salzburg)
    starting: ending: 11.11.2016 Location: , Category:


    Conference START 11.11.2016 END

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