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Forests and Trees: the Formal Semantics of Collective Categorization (ROCKY)


7 Oct 2019 - 8 May 2019
Utrecht University

Workshop on Cross-Linguistic Semantics of Reciprocals

Workshop on Cross-Linguistic Semantics of Reciprocals
7-8 October 2019
Utrecht University

Keynote speakers:
– Mary Dalrymple (Oxford University)
– Martin Haspelmath (Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena)

Speakers (partial list):

Sarah Murray (Cornell), John Beavers (Austin), Yuan Shen (Fudan, Shanghai), Koen Bostoen (Ghent), Alexis Dimitriadis (Utrecht/Vienna), Kilu von Prince (Humboldt), Isabelle Bril (LACITO-CNRS)


Giada Palmieri, Yoad Winter, Joost Zwarts (Utrecht)

The last two decades have seen extensive research on the syntax and distribution of reciprocal morphemes across languages. Typological linguists and theoretical  syntacticians have revealed fascinating phenomena of reciprocity, which have substantially increased our knowledge of the ways languages encode reciprocal concepts. Quite independently, there have been some important advances in the formal semantic analysis of reciprocals in English. Yet, at present there is no clear understanding of the cross-linguistic semantics of reciprocals, or even the extent to which such a general semantics is motivated.

This workshop will focus on the phenomenon of reciprocity across languages. By bringing together formal semanticists who focus on cross-linguistic research and experts of reciprocity phenomena, we hope to be able to address some of the major questions in this area. Relevant questions are:
– Are there concepts of reciprocity that are potential candidates as language universals in formal semantics in the sense of von Fintel & Matthewson (2008)?
– How can the universal principles as proposed in Haspelmath (2007) and formal principles as suggested in Dalrymple et al. (1998) be used to promote such efforts?
– How do different languages encode reciprocal concepts in the syntax-semantics-lexicon interfaces?

– Should the formal semantic analysis of reciprocity be extended to reflexives?
– Is there motivation for a unified analysis of reciprocals and “dyad” constructions? (Evans 2006)
– Are there special properties of the discontinuous reciprocal construction that bear on the general semantics of reciprocity?
– How should reciprocity be connected to other collective concepts, and what is the semantic contribution of collective markers to reciprocity?

Additional general subjects:
– Theoretical work on reciprocity in specific languages
– Typological work on reciprocity in under-studied languages
– Experimental work on reciprocal expressions

This workshop is part of the ROCKY ERC-AdG project (https://rocky.sites.uu.nl) at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics.

Submission details:
We welcome abstracts containing no more than 2 pages, on any of the subjects of the workshop. Selected talks are for 45 minutes (including discussion), and selected posters will be presented in the poster session as well as in a lightning presentation (15 minutes, including discussion). Please, indicate in your abstract if it is meant as a talk, poster, or both.

Please submit your abstract via: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=clsor2019

Important dates:
Submission deadline: June 30, 2019
Notification of acceptance: July 15, 2019

For practical questions, please email Giada Palmieri (g.palmieri [AT] uu.nl)

Selected References
– Mary Dalrymple, Makoto Kanazawa, Yookyung Kim, Sam Mchombo and Stanley Peters. 1998. Reciprocal expressions and the concept of reciprocity. Linguistics and Philosophy 21(2). 159-210.
– Nicholas Evans. 2006. ‘Dyadic constructions’, in Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2nd ed), Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 24-28.
– Kai von Fintel & Lisa Matthewson. 2008. Universals in semantics. The Linguistic Review 25(1-2). 139–201.
– Martin Haspelmath. 2007. Further remarks on reciprocal constructions. In: Nedjalkov, Vladimir P. (ed.) 
Reciprocal constructions. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2087-2115.