LINGUIST List 15.2076

Wed Jul 14 2004

Calls: General Ling/Ling Theories/Cologne, Germany

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at


  1. horst.simon, Expecting the Unexpected - Exceptions in Grammar

Message 1: Expecting the Unexpected - Exceptions in Grammar

Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004 21:21:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: horst.simon <>
Subject: Expecting the Unexpected - Exceptions in Grammar

Expecting the Unexpected - Exceptions in Grammar 

Date: 23-Feb-2005 - 25-Feb-2005
Location: Cologne, Germany
Contact: Heike Wiese
Contact Email: 
Meeting URL: 

Linguistic Sub-field: General Linguistics, Language Description,
Linguistic Theories 
Call Deadline: 15-Aug-2004

Call for Papers:


Workshop as part of the 26th Annual Meeting of the German Society for
Linguistics (DGfS)
University of Cologne, Germany
23rd-25th February, 2005
Organizers: Horst Simon & Heike Wiese (Humboldt-University Berlin)

Linguistic fields: general linguistics, historical linguistics,
language description, linguistic theories, typology.

Keynote speakers:
Frans Plank (University of Konstanz)
Marga Reis (University of Tuebingen)
Tom Wasow (Stanford University)

A general goal of scientific theories is to systematise data from a
particular field as completely and as elegantly as possible; ideally,
all phenomena should be accounted for within a simple system.
Is such a methodological aim also adequate for human language? In the
analysis of linguistic data, one frequently faces phenomena that pose
a problem for systematisation because they do not follow the standard
patterns one observes otherwise. There are various ways to deal with
this problem; possible options, as realised in different frameworks,

- ignoring special cases and concentrating on abstract model building instead,
- reserving a specialised part of the model (the 'lexicon') for idiosyncrasies,
- dispensing with generalisations altogether and concentrating on
in-depth analyses of case studies.

In addition, some approaches favour 'softer' grammatical models (such
as Prototype Theory or Stochastic Optimality Theory) that can
integrate 'exceptions' without bestowing them a special theoretical
status. Finally, for some models of language change (e.g. those
based on evolutionary theory), the existence of exceptions is an
integral and constitutive part of the theory.

Exceptions can be defined both inter- and intra-linguistically.
First, typologically, exceptions can represent counter-examples to
cross-linguistically formulated general regularities, while they
might constitute a systematic phenomenon in the individual language
in which they occur (cf. e.g. the cases collected in the Constance
Raritaetenkabinett). Second, in a particular language, exceptions can
represent an idiosyncratic phenomenon that cannot be captured by
intra-linguistic grammatical generalisations and therefore requires
special descriptive efforts.

In the workshop, we want to explore the theoretical and practical
problems that such intra- and inter-linguistic exceptions pose for
grammatical modelling. In particular, the workshop will be dedicated
to the following questions:

- How can exceptions be identified? In how far is their special
status tied to the particular grammatical model used?
- Do exceptions constitute sub-systems? Are there special areas in
grammar where exceptions abound?
- How do exceptions emerge diachronically? How are they levelled out again?
- Are there special acquisitional patterns for exceptions? How are
they affected in situations of language loss? What is their status in
language processing?
- Are exceptions also a part of communication systems of other
species, or are they a species-specific characteristic of the human
language faculty? Do they play a role in language evolution?

We invite linguists from all persuasions who work on grammatic
modelling and who reflect on methodological issues, in particular
those working in the fields of grammatical theory, typology,
historical linguistics, psycho- and neurolinguistics, and computer
linguistics. General theoretical discussions and analyses of case
studies are equally welcome.

Talks will be 20 minutes each, with 10 minutes of discussion.
Please send an anonymous abstract of max. 500 words, as a text file
or Word file,

DEADLINE: August 15th, 2004

Notification of acceptance will be sent by email in September.

For further enquiries please contact:

Horst Simon or Heike Wiese,
Institut fuer deutsche Sprache und Linguistik
Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Germany
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue