Call for Papers

Local Modelling of Non-Local Dependencies in Syntax

Workshop, 30th meeting of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS)

February 27-29, 2008
Universität Bamberg

Artemis Alexiadou
Institut für Linguistik/Anglistik
Universität Stuttgart
Tibor Kiss
Sprachwissenschaftliches Institut
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Gereon Müller
Institut für Linguistik
Universität Leipzig

Workshop Description

Non-Local Dependencies
Syntactic dependencies may be non-local in the sense that they involve two positions in a phrase structure whose correspondence cannot be captured by invoking notions like ``clause-mate relation'' or (non-extended) ``predicate/argument structure''. A classic example that instantiates such a non-local relation is the existence of long-distance movement dependencies in natural languages (e.g., wh-movement, topicalization, etc.), where the displaced item and its base position can in principle be separated by arbitrarily many intervening clause boundaries. However, there are many other syntactic dependencies that can also be non-local in this sense. For instance, reflexivization is often confined to minimal predicate/argument structures, but it may also apply non-locally in certain contexts, in certain languages (without necessarily being amenable to an account in terms of logophoricity). Control of the subject of an infinitive by an argument belonging to a matrix clause also emerges as a non-local operation, at least in some analyses. Furthermore, many languages (among them, e.g., Tsez, Itelmen, and Hindi, but also, strictly speaking, Icelandic) exhibit instances of non-local agreement. Case assignment, too, may in principle be non-local (i.e., it is not necessarily confined to minimal predicate/argument structures); and tense relations between clauses are non-local almost by definition. Finally, a particularly clear example of a non-local dependency is the binding of pronouns that are interpreted as variables.

Local Modelling
By postulating successive cyclicity in the case of displacement phenomena (i.e., Comp-to-Comp movement), a non-local dependency was (to some extent) modelled as a local phenomenon in classic transformational grammar. Subsequently, an even more local treatment of movement dependencies was developed by Gerald Gazdar in the framework of GPSG, by adopting Slash features that are passed on in minimal subtrees; essentially, this kind of approach is still maintained in HPSG analyses. Interestingly, recent analyses within the Minimalist Program (including some of Chomsky's own work) converge with Slash feature percolation approaches in that they assume that displacement phenomena involve minimal local movement steps -- not only to the edge of each phase (i.e., clause or predicate phrase), but actually to the edge of each XP (also see Jan Koster's recent work on gap phrases). In the same vein, it has recently been proposed that reflexivization should be modelled in a strictly local way (by invoking feature percolation or extremely local movement steps) -- both within HPSG analyses and Minimalist analyses. Analogous considerations apply in the case of the other non-local dependencies mentioned above.

Goals of the Workshop
Against this background of growing convergence among syntactic theories, the goals of the workshop are these: 1) to bring together researchers working on the local modelling of non-local dependencies from different theoretical points of view; 2) to discuss advantages and disadvantages of local treatments of non-local dependencies; and 3) to compare different theoretical approaches. As far as this last point is concerned, we believe that it may turn out that local analyses of non-local phenomena developed in different kinds of syntactic theories (and spanning the generative/declarative dichotomy) can be shown to not only share identical research questions, but also, to a large extent, identical research strategies. Needless to say, these considerations are not confined to HPSG and the Minimalist Program; they also apply to syntactic theories in which local approaches to non-local dependencies are either an important building block per se (e.g., LFG, categorial grammar, in some sense also TAG), or in which local analyses have recently come to the fore as viable alternatives to standard, non-local approaches (e.g., optimality theory). Recurring questions arising in this general area of research include the following: How can asymmetries between different kinds of (basically non-local) dependencies be accounted for (e.g., displacement may often be non-local to a higher degree than reflexivization)? And how can asymmetries between different languages with respect to the same kinds of (basically non-local) dependencies be accounted for?

Abstract submission

Abstracts should be anonymous.
Abstracts should not be longer than two pages (12pt, wide margins on all sides), for 20 minute talks (30 minute slots).
Abstracts should be in pdf format.
Name, affiliation, and title of the abstract should be included in the body of the email.

Address for submission: Tibor Kiss

Extended deadline for abstract submission: August 15, 2007 (Notification of acceptance: September 1, 2007)
Last Change: August 1, 2007