Workshops und Konferenzen 2017

Partitive Determiners and Partitive Case

PARTE Workshop 1, 13 - 14 November 2017, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Although the interest in the concept of partitivity has continuously increased in the last decades and has given rise to considerable advances in research, Partitive Elements (PE), which are typologically marked, display a fine-grained morpho-syntactic and semantic variation across European languages, a variation that is far from being described, let alone understood. The main obstacle to this is the fact that, up to now, PEs have been analysed only in restricted linguistic environments, and in general only for one language/variety, without a pan-European perspective.

The goal is to work on this phenomenon in a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, studying the emergence and spread of markers of partitivity, the theoretical analysis of these elements (articles pronouns, cases), and the strong affectedness of these elements by language contact (change or loss).

The first workshop of the PARTE Network will focus on Partitive Determiners and Partitive Case in European languages and dialects, their acquisition, their behavior under language contact, their emergence and spread in the diachrony, the best methods of data gathering and annotation, theoretical analyses of their syntax and interpretation in a cross-theoretic perspective.

Keynote speakers:

Anne Carlier (University Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3)

Urtzie Etxeberria (CNRS, Baiona)

The PARTE Network is funded by NWO (the Netherlands Organization for scientific research) and co-funded by the Universities of Zurich, Venice, Budapest and Pavia.

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Knowledge in Interaction

Workshop, 10 - 11 November 2017, Swiss Science Centre Technorama

In the context of their SNF funded project ‘Interactive Discoveries’, which analyses visitor interactions at the Swiss Science Centre Technorama, Wolfgang Kesselheim, Christina Brandenberger and Christoph Hottiger of the VideoLab are organizing an international workshop on knowledge and its construction in interaction. The workshop will take place at the Technorama in Winterthur on the 10th and 11th of November 2017 and will aim to shed new light on knowledge in interaction by approaching the topic from different perspectives. In order to do this, we invited experts from the fields of interactional linguistics (among them Elisabeth Gülich (Bielefeld), Arnulf Deppermann (Mannheim), and Stephan Habscheid (Siegen)), and science didactics (Markus Wilhelm, Lucerne), as well as members of the team who design the exhibition at the Technorama (Barbara Neff and Armin Duff). Topics to be discussed will include knowledge construction as an interactional phenomenon as such, and the way interactants make various sensory perceptions available to each other in this process, but also the specific ways the exhibition space and the exhibits in it influence visitors’ interactions and the way visitors appropriate this space in interaction. The workshop will conclude with a data session on how a specific element of the exhibition, namely the texts which accompany the exhibits, are used in visitors’ interactions and how they contribute to the process of interactive knowledge construction.

Contact: Wolfgang Kesselheim,

Unlocking new data: Linguistic typology as a key to agreement variation

DAI Workshop, 9. October 2017, University of Zurich, Room RAA-G-01

The study of agreement is of continuing interest in general linguistics and linguistic typology. Italian dialect varieties display a wealth of interesting phenomena in this area, some of which are unparalleled across Romance, or even within the whole Indo- European language family. However, this wealth of structural diversity has hardly been exploited in typological studies on agreement and thus could not find its way into the international scientific debate, mainly because of the unavailability of the primary data to the international scientific community. We want to fill this gap by developing an online database, consisting of annotated data from seven selected varieties (from north to south): Urbino, Ripatransone, Luras, Agnone, Altamura, Verbicaro, Pantelleria.

The one-day workshop will feature presentations of our international consultants intertwined with talks by project members, focusing on their research.

Everyone is welcome to attend. To facilitate planning please let us know by 29 September 2017 if you are coming by emailing Tania Paciaroni (


9.30 - 10.30    Greville Corbett: The  typology  of  pluralia  tantum  nouns: implications for agreement

11.00 - 11.30   Diego Pescarini: Asymmetric nominal agreement in southern Switzerland

11.30 - 12.00  Serena Romagnoli: Verbal  (un)agreement  in  the  variety  of Urbinate

12.00 - 12.30  Tania Paciaroni: The  morphology  and  syntax  of  agreement: some problems from Ripano

14.00 - 15.00  Magnus Breder Birkenes: The  Marburg  Agreement  Project: Tagging and comparing agreement in a parallel corpus

15.00 - 15.30  Taras Zakharko: The Zurich database of agreement in Italo- Romance: technical infrastructure and implementation

16.00 - 16.30  Alice Idone: Agreement patterns in Verbicarese: an insight on variation among generations

16.30 - 17.00  Michele Loporcaro: Changing agreement in fragile systems

Program and description in pdf format

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Accommodation in verbal and nonverbal behavior

SLE Workshop Nr 1, 13. September 2017, Zürich

Organisation: Wolfgang Kesselheim & Agnes Kolmer


Wenling Cao, Paul Foulkes & Márton Sóskuthy: Short-term Accommodation of Non-native English Speakers: A Perspective of Second Language Acquisition

Katherine Earnshaw: Phonetic Accommodation in British English: Implications for Forensic Speaker  Comparisons

Leonardo Barón Birchenall & Noël Nguyen: Influence of rhythmic regularity on accommodation processes during conversations

Heike Ortner: Accommodation in Professional Instructions of Movement: A Multimodal Analysis

Saya Ike & Jean Mulder: Pragmatic Accommodation in Backchannel Sequences in ELF Interactions

Hessa Al-Bishi: Appropriateness of nonverbal greeting behaviours of Saudi sojourners in English- speaking  countries

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First language acquisition in the languages of the world: Differences & similarities

SLE Workshop Nr 10, 13. September 2017, Zürich

Organisation: Damián E. Blasi, Jekaterina Mazara & Sabine Stoll


Marisa Casillas, Penelope Brown & Stephen C. Levinson: Early word learning environments: Evidence from Mayan and Papua New Guinean households

Barbara Pfeiler: The acquisition of evidentiality in Yukatek Maya

Victoria Kazakovskaya & Reili Argus: First language acquisition of epistemic modality in typologically different languages: Evidence from Estonian and Russian

Andrea Taverna & Sandra Waxman: Noun and verb acquisition in young Wichi children: New evidence from an indigenous Amerindian community

Cynthia Pamela Audisio & Alejandrina Cristia: Do simple syntactic heuristics to verb argument structure hold up? A test with spontaneous corpora

Felix Engelmann, Joanna Kolak, Sonia Granlund, Marta Szreder, Ben Ambridge, Julian Pine, Anna Theakston & Elena Lieven: The acquisition of Polish and Finnish verb inflection in a connectionist  model

Joanna Kolak, Sonia Granlund, Virve Vihman, Felix Engelmann, Ben Ambridge, Julian Pine, Anna Theakston & Elena Lieven: An experimental study on the acquisition of noun case marking in Estonian, Finnish and Polish

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Matter borrowing vs pattern borrowing in morphology

SLE Workshop Nr 13, 12.-13. September 2017, Zürich

Organisation: Francesco Gardani, with Rik van Gijn, Stefan Dedio, Florian Sommer, Manuel Widmer & Florian Matter


Jeanette Sakel: Morphological pattern replication in bilingual children

Felicity Meakins, Jane Simpson, Samantha Disbray & Amanda Hamilton: Which MATter matters in PATtern borrowing?

Angela Ralli: Matter vs. pattern borrowing in compounding: evidence from the Greek dialectal variety

Lameen Souag: When is templatic morphology borrowed?

Danny Law: Pattern borrowing, linguistic similarity, and new categories

Luca Ciucci: Zamucoan and the others: matter borrowing vs. pattern borrowing in the Chaco area

Benjamin Saade: Productivity as a cross-linguistic pattern: Italian derivation in Maltese

Marianne Mithun: Beyond the Structural Domain: Distributed Multiplicity

Ana R. Luis: A comparative approach to contact-induced morphological change in creole languages

Kirill Kozhanov & Peter Arkadiev: How much pattern-borrowing does matter-borrowing presuppose? A study of Slavic verbal prefixes in contact

Alexander Rusakov & Maria Morozova: Matter and pattern borrowing: between and beyond

Daria Bikina & Alexey Kozlov: Matter borrowing followed by pattern borrowing: evidence from Moksha Mordvin and Beserman Udmurt

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Bare nouns vs. Partitive articles: disentangling functions

SLE Workshop Nr 3, Montag, 11. September 2017, Zürich

Organisation: Tabea Ihsane & Elisabeth Stark


Béatrice Lamiroy & Anne Carlier: Configurationality in Romance and the development of the partitive article

Silvia Luraghi: The distribution of the Italian partitive article

Giuliana Giusti: A Protocol for indefinite determiners in Italo-Romance dialects

Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin: Partitive articles versus absence of articles

Artemis Alexiadou, Janayna Carvalho & Marcelo Ferreira: The contribution of gender in bare nouns

Danae Perez & Albert Wall: Bareness and nominal semantics in Afro-Yungueño

Urtzi Etxeberria: Bare Nouns, the definite determiner, and the partitive marker: the case of Basque

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61. Studentische Tagung Sprachwissenschaft

Konferenz, Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017, 09:00 Uhr bis Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017, 18:00 Uhr

Nach mehr als 10 Jahren findet die Studentische Tagung Sprachwissenschaft(StuTS) wieder in der Schweiz statt. Vom 25. bis zum 28. Mai 2017 treffen sich mehr als 150 Studierende und Doktorierende der Sprachwissenschaft aus Deutschland und den umliegenden Ländern an der Universität Zürich. Die 61. StuTS umfasst Keynotes, Workshops und eine vielversprechende Podiumskussion von namhaften Zürcher ProfessorInnen. Das Wichtigste an der StuTS sind jedoch die studentischen Vorträge. Hört sie euch an - und berichtet selbst über eure Forschung! Trefft LinguistInnen aus halb Europa, und tauscht euch mit ihnen aus!

MitAndreas Jucker 
Balthasar Bickel 
Barbara Sonnenhauser 
Paul Widmer 
Sabine Stoll 
Tanja Samardžić

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Spatial Boundaries and Transitions in Language and Interaction: Perspectives from Linguistics and Geography

Conference, April 23-28, 2017, Monte Verità

The conference has three major objectives: to bridge the disciplinary boundaries between linguistics and geography, to provide new scientific insights into the roles of spatial boundaries, and to develop and exchange new methods for the measurement of boundaries in linguistics and interaction. As to the first objective, the conference brings together experienced and young researchers from hitherto rather separated sub-disciplines of linguistics and geography. As to the second goal, we want to launch a profound interdisciplinary debate on the issue of spatial boundaries by exploring why and how linguistic, natural and social boundaries change, how linguistic and spatial evolution proceeds, and how communicative spaces work. The third objective is achieved by a workshop at the end of the conference, which also deals with the current impact of big data on linguistic and geographic research.

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Diachronic morphology: theoretical, areal, and phylogenetic perspectives

International workshop, Donnerstag, 26. Januar 2017, 08:50 Uhr bis Freitag, 27. Januar 2017, 17:30 Uhr

Grammar and lexicon (in the sense of ‘vocabulary’) have both been central to understanding language change. However, their diachronic behavior is often contrasted in at least two respects: 

It has been suggested that, on the whole, grammar (including morphology) changes more slowly than lexicon (e.g. Nichols 1992, 2003, Dunn et al. 2005). It has also been suggested that different types of grammatical structure have different degrees of diachronic stability, though this has so far not led to consensus (see Dediu & Cysouw 2013 for an overview of different approaches) 
In contact linguistics, it has repeatedly been claimed that structure is more resistant to borrowing than vocabulary (see e.g. Moravcsik 1978, Thomason & Kaufman 1988, McMahon & McMahon 2005), while at the same time structure is expected to leave substrate signals after language shift and in situations of convergence. 

Morphology, with its close ties to both the lexicon and syntax, can play a key role in arriving at a better understanding of this seemingly contrastive diachronic behavior of lexicon and grammar. Morphology itself seems to display ambiguous diachronic behavior. On the one hand, the distribution of broad morphological types over the globe suggests areal, contact-related diffusion. On the other hand, patterns of flexivity and syncretism often show strong lineage-specific signals. 

In order to better understand the dynamics of morphological patterns in time and space, we need (1) to develop more fine-grained approaches to morphological categories and types, in which broad types are broken down into lower-level variables, whose phylogenetic and areal behavior can then be studied individually; and (2) to adopt methods of analysis that are sensitive to genealogical and geographical diversity. Combining the latest insights in morphological theory and comparative-historical linguistics is crucial for adequately addressing one of the key challenges in comparative morphology: distinguishing contact-induced vs universally favored vs random spread of specific morphological patterns within families, or cross-family stability vs. areal spread. 

Organized by Rik van Gijn, Stefan Dedio, Francesco Gardani, Florian Matter, Peter Ranacher, Florian Sommer, Manuel Widmer 

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