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Workshop I

Psychological predicates at the syntax-semantics interface: theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches

Convenor: Anna Bondaruk, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, bondaruk@kul.pl

Psychological/Experiencer predicates describe affective phenomena (states, processes and events) and are divided into: (i) Subject Experiencer, SE, (fear class), (ii) Object Experiencer, OE, (frighten class), and (iii) Dative Experiencer, DE, (please, or appeal to class). They constitute a challenge for any theory positing an absolute mapping between the lexicon and syntax, such as Baker’s (1988) UTAH or Perlmutter & Postal’s (1984) UAH. In addition, there are other grammatical properties characteristic of psych verbs (reviewed in Landau 2010) and of their nominalizations (Grimshaw 1990, Rozwadowska 1988, 1997, a.o.). Since Belletti & Rizzi (1988) various competing accounts have been postulated to explain their intriguing behavior attested cross-linguistically. The questions that continue to puzzle the linguists are whether psychological predicates are indeed grammatically special, which level of linguistic analysis accounts best for their properties and whether all the puzzles can be reduced to a single level of the analysis or there is a conspiracy of different levels. Belletti & Rizzi (1988) developed a purely syntactic approach to psych verbs assuming unaccusative structure for OE verbs and movement operations. This finer-grained syntactic approach was extended in various directions by some scholars and challenged by others, who, following Pesetsky (1995), opt for finer-grained semantic solutions. Still others (Grafmiller 2013, Żychliński 2013) claim that psych verbs are not special at all. The most problematic are OE verbs, which are 3-way ambiguous between stative, causative-eventive and agentive interpretations. Special psych-properties obtain only on stative and (arguably) on causative-eventive reading, which leads to the hypothesis that psych effects are dependent on aspect, temporality and event type, which, in turn, can be syntactically encoded. Interestingly, Hartshorne et al. (2010) found experimental support for the syntactic encoding of temporality with psych verbs.

The workshop aims at bringing together researchers using different methodologies and theoretical approaches to contribute to the discussion concerning the psych phenomenon from the cross-linguistic perspective. Apart from the general debate described above, more specific questions to be addressed include (but are not limited to) the following:

1. The syntactic structure of all classes of psych verbs and the structural position of the Experiencer.
2. Is stativity/ eventivity/ agentivity of psych verbs structurally encoded?
3. Do Experiencers represent mental locations?
4. What can nominalizations tell us about the event structure of psych verbs?
5. Do psychological predicates participate in the same alternations as do other verb classes?
6. What is the event structure of the distinct classes of psychological predicates (state, change of state or onset to a state)?
7. Stage-level vs. individual-level distinction among psych predicates.
8. Information Structure in relation to word orders found with psychological predicates.
9. Experimental evidence bearing on the syntax and semantics of psychological predicates.

Selected recent references

Biały, A. 2005. Polish psychological Verbs at the Lexicon-Syntax Interface in Cross-linguistic Perspective. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Fábregas, A., and R. Marín. 2015. Deriving individual-level and stage-level psych verbs in Spanish. The Linguistic Review 32(2): 227-275.

Grafmiller, J. 2013: The semantics of syntactic choice. An analysis of English emotion verbs. Doctoral dissertation, Stanford University.

Hartshorne, J. K., T. J. O'Donnell, Y. Sudo, M. Uruwashi, and J. Snedeker 2010: Linking meaning to language: Verbs of psychological state and the linking problem. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Second Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Landau, I. 2010. The locative syntax of Experiencers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Marín, R., and L. McNally. 2011. Inchoativity, change of state, and telicity: Evidence from Spanish reflexive psychological verbs. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 29: 467–502.

Pylkkänen, L. 2000: On stativity and causation. In C. L. Tenny, J. Pustejovsky (eds.) 2000: Events as grammatical objects: The converging perspective of lexical semantics and syntax. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 417–444.

Rozwadowska, B. 2012. On the onset of psych eventualities. In Sound, structure and sense. Studies in memory of Edmund Gussmann, edited by Eugeniusz Cyran, Henryk Kardela, and Bogdan Szymanek, 533–554. Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL.

Żychliński, S. 2013: On some aspects of the syntax of object Experiencers in Polish and English. Doctoral dissertation. Poznań: Adam Mickiewicz University.


Workshop II

Formal description and analysis of Celtic Languages

Convenor: dr hab. Maria Bloch-Trojnar, Chair of the Department of Celtic Studies, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin

The Department of Celtic Studies, the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin invites submissions to a Celtic workshop ‘Formal description and analysis of Celtic Languages’ in any of the following or related areas:

  1. Formal description and analysis of the Celtic languages from a synchronic and diachronic perspective (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics)
  2. The future of the Celtic languages (sociolinguistics, contact linguistics and language planning)
  3. Issues of translation (the challenges of translating into and from languages of limited diffusion)

Abstracts of paper proposals (200-300 words, including references) should be sent to bloch@kul.pl by 30th June 2016.