DGfS 2016 | 24.-26.2.2016

38. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft

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AG 10: Morphological effects on word order from a typological and a diachronic perspective


Thórhallur Eythórsson, Hans-Martin Gärtner, Tonjes Veenstra (Reykjavik/Budapest/Berlin).


Olaf Koeneman (Nijmegen)
Hedde Zeijlstra (Göttingen)


The overall topic of this workshop is to re-examine the relation between inflectional morphology and word order, and how changes in the morphological component lead to changes in the syntactic component, and vice versa. It will be considered from a typological and a diachronic perspective, with particular emphasis on language contact and creolization. There is a long-standing tradition in historical linguistics from Meillet (1908) onwards attributing syntactic change to the loss of inflectional morphology (e.g. Jespersen 1922, Lightfoot 1979, Weerman 1989). In a specific case, this line of research has been formalized in the last decades as the Rich Agreement Hypothesis (RAH: Holmberg & Platzack 1991, Roberts 1993, Rohrbacher 1994, Vikner 1995, Bobaljik & Thráinsson 1998). The discussion has centered on the question whether the correlation is bi-directional (strong version: rich inflection => V-to-I movement) or mono-directional (weak version: rich inflection => V-to-I movement). The strong bi-directional version of the RAH has recently been resurrected by Koeneman & Zeijlstra (2014), based on the micro-variation within Germanic and Romance languages, but with strong typological claims that go beyond these particular language families: on this version of the RAH, there are no languages that have rich inflection but not V-to-I, and no languages that lack rich inflection but still have V-to-I. Although well-known exceptions seem to abound, these have neither been properly catalogued, nor tested, let alone accounted for.

The main goal of this workshop, therefore, is to create a platform to stimulate a structured discussion of the well-defined claims on the correlation between morphology and word order, on the basis of diachronic data and creole data. As to the diachronic evidence, there seems, for example, to be a time lag in the loss of inflectional morphology and the disappearance of V-to-I in Scandinavian languages (cf. Sundquist 2002), which begs the question how much time is required between the trigger of the change and its syntactic manifestation. As to the creole languages, some of them seem to exhibit V-movement although they do not have rich agreement, whereas others potentially count as having rich agreement but no V-movement (cf. Baptista 2002, McWhorter 2013, Roberts 1999, Veenstra 1996, 2008).

The topics to be addressed include:

(i) When does the verbal and/or pronominal (subject clitic) paradigm count as having RA, and are these subtypes of RA independent of, or interdependent on, each other?

(ii) How long can the time lag between different diachronic stages be, in order to still be able to speak of a causal relation of morphology and syntax between such stages?

(iii) Can language contact account for apparent exceptions to the RAH?

(iv) What is the typological and historical evidence bearing on the RAH outside of modern Germanic and Romance, in particular in creole languages, and how is it to be interpreted?

The workshop will bring together scholars from theoretical linguistics, historical linguistics, creole studies and language contact studies to address the above issues.


Mittwoch, 24. Februar 2016
14:00 - 15:00

Olaf Koeneman, Hedde Zeijlstra:

The Rich Agreement Redux

15:00 - 16:00

Eric Fuß:

Hand in hand or each on one’s own? On the connection between morphological and syntactic change

16:00 - 16:30Kaffeepause
16:30 - 17:30

Tonjes Veenstra:

From rags to riches: the RAH from a creole perspective

17:30 - 18:30

Peter Slomanson:

The contribution of contact linguistics to the Rich Agreement debate


Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2016

9:00 - 10:00

Ásgrímur Angantýsson:

V2 and verbal morphology in Övdalian

10:00 - 11:00

Hans-Martin Gärtner:

On the Role of Verbal Mood in Licensing Dependent V2 Clauses

11:00 - 11:30Kaffeepause
11:30 - 12:00

Heimir van der Feest Viðarsson:

Re-challenging the RAH: Problematisation of structural and social aspects in 19th-century Icelandic

12:00 - 13:00

John Sundquist, Caroline Heycock:

Revisiting the RAH in Light of Diachronic Data from the History of Danish


Freitag, 26. Februar 2016

11:30 - 12:00

Elyse Jamieson:

Rich agreement in the Shetland dialect of Scots

12:00 - 13:00

Eric Haeberli, Tabea Ihsane:

The Rich Agreement Hypothesis: Diachronic (lack of) evidence from English

13:00 - 14:00

Thórhallur Eythórsson:

'If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium': Some alleged syntax-morphology correlations re-examined