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


7 - 8 October 2019
Utrecht University - Drift 21, 3512 BR Utrecht, Sweelinckzaal

Workshop on Cross-Linguistic Semantics of Reciprocals

Workshop on Cross-Linguistic Semantics of Reciprocals

We are glad to announce that on the 7th and 8th of October, the workshop “Cross-linguistic semantics of reciprocals” will take place at Utrecht University.

The workshop will bring together formal semanticists and experts of reciprocity phenomena, with the goal of addressing some of the major questions in this area.

Keynote speakers are Mary Dalrymple (Oxford University) and Martin Haspelmath (MPI-SHH Jena & Leipzig University).


(note: All slots for presentation contain 10 minutes for remarks by a discussant (tba) + 10/15 minutes for general discussion)

7th October


10.00 – 10.15 = welcome

10.15 – 10.20 = opening remarks

10.20–11.30 = Keynote – Mary Dalrymple (Oxford University): ‘Reciprocal scope ambiguity and scope marking’ [slides]
discussant: Yoad Winter (Utrecht University) [discussion slides]

11.30 – 11.50 = coffee break

11.50 – 12.40 = Koen Bostoen (Ghent University): ‘Historical cycles of reciprocal marking in Bantu and the polysemy of Proto-Bantu *-an[slides]
discussant: Isabelle Bril (LACITO-CNRS, LABEX EFL)

12.40 – 14.00 = lunch

14.00 – 14.50 = Filipe Hisao Kobayashi (MIT): ‘A Compositional Analysis of Scattered Reciprocals in Brazilian Portuguese[handout]
discussant: Eric Reuland (Utrecht University) [discussion handout]

15.00 – 15.50 = Naonori Nagaya (The University of Tokyo): ‘Reciprocity in Tagalog dyad constructions
discussant: Martin Haspelmath (MPI-SHH Jena & Leipzig University)

15.50 – 16.10 = coffee break

16.10 – 17.00 = Giada Palmieri (Utrecht University): ‘Vagueness or ambiguity? On the interpretation of reflexive and reciprocal si-constructions in Italian’ [slides]
discussant: Jakub Dotlacil (University of Amsterdam) [discussion slides]

17.10 – 18.00 = John Beavers (The University of Texas at Austin): ‘Middle voice as generalized argument suppression: the case from Indonesian[handout]
discussant: Joost Zwarts (Utrecht University)

19.00 = dinner

8th October


09.00-09.10 = informal gathering + coffee

09.10-10.00 = Ed Keenan (UCLA) & Baholy Ralalaoherivony (University of Antananarivo): ‘Morphological reciprocals: the case of Malagasy[handout]
discussant: Jack Hoeksema (Groningen University)

10.10 – 11.00 = Isabelle Bril (LACITO-CNRS, LABEX EFL): ‘Symmetrical and reciprocal constructions in Austronesian languages the syntax-semantics-lexicon interface[slides]
discussant: Eva van Lier (University of Amsterdam)

11.00 – 11.20 = coffee break

11.20 – 12.40 =  POSTER SESSION (see titles below)

12.40 – 14.00 = lunch

14.00 – 14.50 = Kilu von Prince (Humboldt University of Berlin): ‘Reciprocal strategies in Daakaka[slides]
discussant: Bert Le Bruyn (Utrecht University) [discussion slides]

15.00 – 15.50 = Yuan Shen (Fudan University): ‘A unified analysis of the semantic licensing conditions for huxiang (“mutually”) in Chinese[slides]
discussant: Jenny Doetjes (Leiden University)

15.50 – 16.10 = coffee break

16.10 – 17.20 = Keynote – Martin Haspelmath (MPI-SHH Jena & Leipzig University): ‘Reflexive and reciprocal constructions: Comparisons and explanations without true analysis[handout]
discussant: Helen de Hoop (Radboud University Nijmegen)

17.20 – 17.30 = Ending notes


-Brian Buccola (Michigan State University), Jeremy Kuhn (CNRS) & David Nicolas (CNRS): ‘The unexplained symmetric reading of reciprocal sentences’ [poster]

-Dag Haug (University of Oslo): ‘Reciprocals with quantified antecedents[poster]

-Filipe Hisao Kobayashi (MIT): ‘Two Types of Reciprocals in Mandarin Chinese[poster]

-Imke Kruitwagen (Utrecht University): ‘Can we fight with trees? Exploring the territory of reciprocal verbs’ [poster]

-György Rákosi (University of Debrecen): ‘Reciprocal anaphors in singular constructions in Hungarian[poster]

-Maud Devos (RMCA) & Rozenn Guérois (Ghent University): ‘Reciprocity in the North-Mozambican Bantu language Shangaji (P312)[poster]


Workshop description

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


Yoad Winter, Joost Zwarts, Giada Palmieri (Utrecht)

Date & Location

7th and 8th October 2019 – Drift 21, 3512 BR Utrecht, Sweelinckzaal. The poster session will take place in Drift 21, room 1.05.

Original Call for Papers


For practical questions, please contact Giada Palmieri (g.palmieri [AT]

 Informal proceedings

The informal proceedings of the workshops are available now and can be found here: Informal proceedings

This workshop is part of the ROCKY ERC-AdG project ( at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics.


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.