Linguistics in Göttingen (LinG) is happy to announce the third edition of its thematic workshop, LinG3, which will take place on 5–6 February 2020.
(A)symmetries in spoken and sign languages workshop concentrates on the yet unanswered fundamental question on whether or not grammar is intrinsically asymmetric yielding a variety of surface asymmetries such as the preponderance of subject-verb orders over verb-subject orders and (nearly) uniform movement to the left periphery of the clause. These observations led to the development of theories which inherently exclude base-generation of rightward specifiers and rightward movement of syntactic objects, most notably by Kayne (1994).
Contra Kayne (1994), it has been argued that surface asymmetries do not follow from grammar-internal principles but are rather constrained by the limits on sentence processing (cf. Neeleman and Ackema 2002; Abels and Neeleman 2012). Importantly, languages also exhibit surface symmetries such as the roughly equal split between verb-object and object-verb orders (cf. Dryer 2005). In addition, it has been argued that there are also instances of rightward wh-movement in sign-languages (Aarons, Bahan, Kegl, & Neidle 1992; Cecchetto, Geraci, and Zucchi 2009). This suggests that there may be relevant properties of modality that allow for more surface symmetries, such as the use of non-manual markers in sign language, which have been claimed to mark grammatical dependencies between the trace and surface positions of moved elements (cf. Cecchetto, Geraci, and Zucchi 2009).
Given these challenges, we welcome all submissions contributing novel data and innovative approaches in both spoken and sign languages that shed light on the understanding of surface (a)symmetries, and the extent to which they might follow from grammar-internal principles or grammar-external factors such as the use of modality and parsing.
Conference languages: English and International Sign