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Full Title: The Morphosyntax of the Romance Languages and its Formal Analysis (Workshop at the 35. Romanistentag)

Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Start Date: 08-Oct-2017 - 12-Oct-2017
Contact: Eva-Maria Remberger
Meeting Email: click here to access email
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Meeting Description: Dynamics, Encounter and Migration (the main topic of the 35. Romanistentag) are the notions that build the focus of this workshop in three different ways:

1. Morphology and syntax generate structure and are therefore the dynamic components of the grammar. Morphosyntax in a narrow sense is thus to be understood as the area of the grammar where syntactic features are encoded by morphological means. It is also the area where morphology and syntax meet (encounter) in a very special way. An example of this convergence is agreement, whereby the features of an element ‘migrate’ on to another. Classic examples are gender and number agreement within the nominal phrase, past participle agreement as well as subject-verb agreement. In relation to the latter, the question is still debated as to whether a direct correlation between rich verb inflection and verb movement exists. This section, though, also aims to examine agreement phenomena in a wider sense (e.g. negative concord, semantic agreement) and hence to shed light on phenomena that more generally belong to the syntax-morphology interface, such as the inheritance of argument structure in derivational processes, specific morphosyntactic and semantic aspects of compounds, etc. As for diachrony, also those phenomena that show how a syntactic process for the coding of a feature, a function, etc., can be replaced by a morphological process (and vice-versa) could be here included. With respect to this, possible questions to be asked are: Which are the factors that cause such a change? How can this change be formally captured? How did agreement arise diachronically?

2. The notions Dynamics, Encounter and Migration also lend to another interpretation within the purposes of this section: a further goal of this section is indeed to bring together scholars (encounter) from different theoretical approaches (e.g. grammatical theory, dialectology, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, corpus linguistics) in order to acquire new insights into morphosyntactic phenomena in Romance, to promote the discussion (dynamics) on the meaningfulness of the theoretical models, and, if needed, to increase their compatibility (migration or rather the transfer of insights from one theory to the other). In many syntactic approaches, for instance, the gender and number features related to agreement are treated similarly; however, neuro- and psycholinguistic studies point out that inherent features (e.g. gender) behave differently from non-inherent features (e.g. number).

3. For this section Dynamics, Encounter and Migration additionally means that we would like to discuss morphosyntactic phenomena in the Romance languages from the perspective of language contact, that is, the encounter of two languages and/or varieties. We will therefore also concentrate on aspects of (also variational) bilingualism, but also on the interaction between migration and language change in general (dynamics). The following points could be the subject of discussion here: Do different social conditions lead to different types of (contact-induced) language change? Is the social situation independent from the types of language change? Since many hypotheses and analyses are based on the standard Romance varieties, a further point on the agenda of this section is to expand the dataset for analysis by including diatopic, diaphasic, and diastratic variation. From a methodological viewpoint, moreover, comparing language acquisition data with dialectal or diachronic corpora is a very interesting enterprise that can help us to identify possible parallelisms between language acquisition and the development of morphosyntactic phenomena and, thus, to understand better language development in relation to acquisition and diachrony.

Convenors: Natascha Pomino (Wuppertal), Eva-Maria Remberger (Vienna), Marc-Olivier Hinzelin (Hamburg)
Linguistic Subfield: Morphology; Syntax
Subject Language Family: Romance
LL Issue: 27.4882

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