Call for papers

This workshop aims at bringing together scholars that can help us further our understanding of cross- and intra-linguistic morphosyntactic variation, either synchronic or diachronic, in adpositional elements —including prepositions, postpositions, adpositional prefixes and particles. The workshop will feature two invited talks and twelve 40-minute presentations by submission, comprising 30 minutes for the talk and 10 minutes for discussion. Abstracts are welcome targeting any of the issues pointed out below or any other concerning the morphosyntactic variation in adpositional elements, from a theoretical or an experimental perspective. Abstracts should be at most 2-page long, including examples and references, typed in 12-point Times New Roman on A4 or letter paper, with 1 inch/2.5 cm margins on all sides. The abstract should have a title but should not identify the author(s). Authors can submit one single-authored abstract or one co-authored abstract or both, at most. Please send abstracts to and make sure you receive a confirmation e-mail within 1 day.

The deadline for submission is 15 February 2017, 23.59 GMT.
Notification of acceptance will be on 1 March 2017.
The workshop will take place on 8–9 May 2017.

The last two decades have seen much attention paid to the structure of the adpositional phrase (PP) in theoretical morphosyntax. Indeed, since at least Koopman’s (1997/2000) seminal work on the structure of the Dutch PP, drawing on previous ideas by Jackendoff (1983), Generative Grammar left behind an era in which adpositions were characterised by only negative categorial features (Chomsky 1970), or were treated solely at the level of argument structure (Jackendoff 1983, Hale & Keyser 1993, 2002, Baker 1996). Thus, nowadays, the PP or rather the pP is standardly considered a distinguished member of the functional hierarchies (Cinque & Rizzi 2010) and counts with an external argument introducing head (Svenonius 2003; although see seminal ideas in Koopman 1993, apud Baker 1996). On the semantic side, works such as Zwarts & Winter (2000) or Zwarts (2005) have provided accurate tools to handle the semantics of the most prominent class of adpositions, namely those of spatial meaning. Finally, with respect to cross-linguistic and cross-dialectal variation related to adpositions, one issue has been extensively dealt with, namely the kind of variation claimed to be responsible for Talmy’s (2000) well-known satellite-/verb-framed typology (see Acedo-Matellán & Mateu 2015 for an overview). In spite of these advances, there remain interesting issues in the variation of adpositional elements that we invite for discussion in our workshop:

Variation linked to argument realization
Talmy’s (2000) satellite-/verb-framed typology is not only relevant in the expression of change of location (e.g., to float into vs Cat. entrar flotant ‘to enter floating’) and change of state (e.g., to work oneself to death vs Cat. morir treballant ‘to die working’) but also in the aspectual domain (e.g., to work on vs Cat. continuar treballant). There is still a debate, within formal approaches to this variation, whether the mentioned typology involves morphophonological properties of adpositional elements (Acedo-Matellán 2016), l-syntactic or syntactic properties (Klipple 1997, Mateu & Rigau 2002, Real-Puigdollers 2013) or whether it boils down to lexical availability (Folli & Ramchand 2005, Son & Svenonius 2008). Other specific questions to be addressed within this topic include the following: What is the appropriate account of the typological variation involved in boundary-crossing adpositions (to float into) and non-boundary-crossing ones (to float toward)? Why are the latter also found in v-framed languages (Aske 1989, Slobin 1996, Beavers 2008, Real-Puigdollers 2010, Romeu 2014, among others)? Is it related to the complement/adjunct distinction (Acedo-Matellán 2016) or can non-boundary-crossing adpositions be integrated as complements (Folli & Harley 2006, Ramchand 2008)? What is the nature of apparently directional adpositions like Sp. a (cf. Sp. correr a la cocina ‘run to the kitchen’)? Is this preposition really directional? (E.g., cf. Fábregas 2007, among others, for the claim that Sp. a is locative) What is the nature of verb-particle constructions of Italian (e.g., correre via ‘run away’), an otherwise verb-framed language (cf. Iacobini & Masini 2006 and Mateu & Rigau 2010, among others)?

Another pattern of variation that has been linked to properties of adpositions is the one affecting the expression of possession, i.e., the one underlying the typology of so-called be- and have-languages (Benveniste 1966, Kayne 1993, Harves & Kayne 2012, Real-Puigdollers 2013). How exactly does this variation emerge? In particular, how exactly is it related to properties of adpositions in the different languages (cf. abstract WITH —Hale & Keyser 2002, McIntyre 2006)? And how can a coherent unified account be achieved that also explains the intra- and cross-linguistic differences in the expression of modals (like need; cf. Harves & Kayne 2012, Etxepare & Uribe-Etxebarria 2012), psych verbs (Adger & Ramchand 2006), measure verbs (Real Puigdollers 2013), or get-verbs (McIntyre 2005)? While some authors have pointed out that an incorporation approach à la Hale & Keyser (2002) could account for the cross-linguistic variation (Real Puigdollers 2013), how would the incorporation vs lack of incorporation relate to the properties of the adposition?

Lexical vs functional adpositions: the connection with the dative
Considering that adpositions are classically analysed as members of the lexical repertory, one of their most striking properties is that they actually straddle the lexical/functional divide (Baker 2003). This is the case of the dual nature of the Western and Central Romance element a/à, which has been a matter of discussing for long (see Jaeggli 1982). Some authors have argued that the Romance a/à is ambiguous since it can be a dative case marker and a preposition: see Demonte (1995), Cuervo (2003) and Ormazabal & Romero (2010) for Spanish, Torres Morais & Salles (2010) and Fournier (2010) for French, Pineda (2013, 2016) for Catalan and Diaconescu & Rivero (2007) for Rumanian la. Some authors relate the case-marker status to the presence of a dative clitic doubling (Demonte 1995, Cuervo 2003, Diaconescu & Rivero 2007, Ormazabal & Romero 2010), whereas others do not (Fournier 2010, Torres Morais & Salles 2010, Pineda 2013, 2016). A connected issue is the (non-)identical status of the element introducing both goal datives (indirect objects) and animate/definite direct objects, i.e., those involved in D(ifferential) O(object) M(arking). Some authors such as Manzini & Franco (2016) have argued for a syntactic category “dative” corresponding to both goal datives (indirect objects) and animate/definite direct objects, a proposal that bases on evidence from a range of Indo-European languages, including not only the Romance family but also Albanian, Iranian and Indo-Aryan languages, among others. However, the discussion remains as to whether we are actually dealing with one and the same syntactic object in all cases. We can take Basque as an example: some varieties features DOM under the form of dative morphology, and it has been argued by Odria (2014) that DOM objects display a different syntax to goal indirect objects. The categorial elasticity of such adpositions/case markers and its cross-linguistic variation is thus an interesting issue to be further explored. Crucially, whereas in some languages (e.g. Romance) there is a striking similarity between dative markers, DOM markers and prepositions, in many others each “function” is instantiated by a dedicated element, as happens in Basque (see Arregi 2003).

Adpositions and inner aspect
The relationship between adpositional elements and inner aspect is not trivial, as is well known. Thus, bounded goal PPs may induce a telic interpretation in the predicate (Borer 2005, MacDonald 2008, Ramchand 2008) and the ability of particles and adpositional prefixes to license such an inner-aspectual interpretation has been extensively studied (see Borer 2005 for English, Gehrke 2008 for Slavic, Acedo-Matellán 2016 for Latin, among many others). How exactly is the variation we find in aspectual systems (MacDonald 2015) linked to adpositional systems? Are there languages where adpositions (broadly understood) systematically determine telicity? What kind of variation do we witness here: is it syntactic or rather purely morphophonological/lexical (Borer 2005, MacDonald 2015)? Both intra- and cross-linguistically, do PPs differ from particles/prefixes systematically in their ability to trigger some inner-aspectual reading? If so, what factors determine that difference?

Variation in the features of p
If, as proposed by Svenonius (2003, 2007), the pP presents an outer projection with a head introducing the Figure external argument, p, analogous to Voice in the verbal domain (Kratzer 1996, Harley 2013), do we expect to find variation linked to the phi-featural makeup of p? In fact, Sheehan (2015) shows that the ergative/nominative typology of languages can be derived from variation located in Voice (transitive v). Could a parallel to “ergative and nominative” languages/constructions (cf. the ones involved in the locative alternation) be found with respect to how the arguments of the pP (the Figure and the Ground) are marked and what their syntax is like?

Prepositions vs postpositions
The variation in the relative order of the adposition and its internal argument (i.e., the difference between pre- and postpositions) is primarily related to a macroparameter (in the sense of Biberauer & Roberts 2015), namely, head directionality (Greenberg 1978). But, is it always the case? Can it be linked, intralinguistically, to other properties of the functional hierarchy of the pP, as explored for Dutch in Den Dikken 2010 (see also Real-Puigdollers 2010)? How are we to make sense of the postpositional preference in so-called r-words in Dutch (van Riemsdijk 1978) and its kin in other Germanic languages (cf. English therein, thereof)? Are there any other interesting correlations between the preference for pre- and postpositions and other morphosyntactic properties?

Preposition stranding
Preposition stranding is a time-honoured topic in Generative Grammar (van Riemsdijk 1978, Abels 2003). However, how is its variation constrained? What other syntactic properties is it related to? How does it emerge (cf. Depiante & Thompson 2013, Gallego 2015 and Pascual y Cabo & Gómez Soler 2015 for varieties American Spanish)? A related topic, namely, that of pseudopassives, raises similar questions.

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