The Olomouc Linguistics Colloquium (Olinco) is a general linguistics conference held biannually at Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic. It covers synchronic or diachronic aspects of grammar, phonology, semantics, and pragmatics. Papers may treat language description, language acquisition, performance, translation, or language deficits.
The general topic of the conference is language use and linguistic structure. The contributions are expected to include justified proposals for linguistic structure, and at the same time relate these structures to some aspect of language use, such as information structure, phonetics, or meaning. The conference also includes several specialized thematic sessions.
Johan van der Auwera
(University of Antwerp)
The (ad/pro)nominal similative: ad hoc in discourse, less so in grammar
Abstract: The main function of words like English such or French tel do is to introduce ad hoc categories. When somebody wants to buy such a cat, it will be an indefinite cat similar to a definite cat, but it is typically of a type for which the speaker has no ready-made category: the ad hoc category could be ‚cat with green eyes and a great personality just like the one in front of the speaker‘. Surprisingly, the grammarians‘ treatment of such and tel is also very much ad hoc and, more importantly, confusing. A comparison with Latin, the parent language of French, and Sanskrit, a coeval of Latin, makes us categorize such and tel as ‚demonstrative similatives‘. It also throws light on the diachronic grammar on French and on the difficulties that the grammarians of English and French have had: such and tel are the sole survivors of an old Indo-European ‚correlative‘ set of similatives. The system is found in a basic shape in Latin. In Sanskrit the system got extended, thus raising the typological question as to how much variation we may expect.
(New York University)
Re-establishing the autonomy of syntax: Abstract morphemes build interpretable structures
Abstract: Contemporary generative syntacticians tend to endorse principles associated with generative semantics (related to UTAH but also to approaches associated with, e.g. Borer and Ramchand) such that argument structure can be read off of or can project underlying syntactic structure. I argue in opposition that principles of syntactic structure building are truly autonomous such that underlying syntactic structure is determined neither by “theta theory” nor by considerations of aspectual or argument structure. The resulting system of interpretive semantics and phonology better explains both cross-linguistic uniformity and cross-linguistic diversity in the expression of semantic relations, as well as providing insight into the relationship among the EPP, Dependent Case theory, Burzio’s Generalization, ergative case-marking, differential object marking and causative clause union.
(Newcastle University, United Kingdom)
Externalization first: language evolution requires communication
Abstract: Discussing the evolution of language, Chomsky & Berwick (2016) claim that “all recent relevant biological and evolutionary research leads to the conclusion that the process of externalization is secondary” to a purely internal language of thought. This internal language is claimed to have evolved without communication. Here, I argue against this thesis on the basis of the development of the lexicon. Chomsky & Berwick regard the emergence of lexical items as highly mysterious: “no one has any idea” (2016:86) how to account for them. Reversing our account of language evolution so that externalization comes first, I argue that lexical items emerge gradually via communication. Given this premise, we can elucidate the properties of words and the development of a storage and retrieval system devoted to them.
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Papers and posters
We welcome proposals for oral presentations and posters in the form of abstracts related to the general topic and/or a workshop topic. Abstract submission guidelines are given below. Poster sessions will be an integral part of the conference program. The language of the conference is English. All abstract submissions will be anonymously reviewed by an international committee of linguists.
– Parameters in the 21st Century | Anna Cardinaletti (Universita Ca Foscari, Italy)
– Empirical approaches to contrastive linguistics and translation studies | Wolker Gast (Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany)
– A Study in Nanosyntax | Michal Starke (Tromsoe University, Norway)
– Nature of change | František Kratochvíl (Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Palacký University Olomouc)
For authors of accepted oral presentations (or two co-authors), we can reserve economical accommodation for up to four nights in shared rooms (shared WC and shower facilities) in a university dormitory (within walking distance of the conference venue). More information to be made available below.
Selection of pictures from 2014 and 2016 Olinco conferences:
Parameters in the 21st Century
Anna Cardinaletti (Universita Ca Foscari, Italy)
Abstract: The Principles and Parameters approach was a postulated solution to Plato’s Problem, as defined and stipulated by Chomsky (1986) and Chomsky and Lasnik (1993) to explain the apparent gap between linguistic knowledge and linguistic competence ( the argument from poverty of the stimulus). The research following the Minimalist Program takes issue with the large number of independent postulations in P&P trying to reduce them to more fundamental principles or to derive them from `reasonable’ interface constraints on derivations. The workshop wants to present more current modifications and alternatives of P&P, e.g. correlations between the parameters, applications of economy, conservatism, the macro- and micro-variations, and dialect variations.
Empirical approaches to contrastive linguistics and translation studies
Wolker Gast (Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany)
Abstract: Contrastive linguistics and translation studies have considerably cross-fertilized each other in recent years, not least because they use similar resources and methods. In particular, the investigation of translated texts figures prominently in both fields, even though the perspectives taken, and the epistemological objectives pursued, are different. Beyond observational (corpus-based) methods, there is moreover a growing body of experimental research in both fields, e.g. using eye-tracking. This workshop is intended to bring together scholars from contrastive linguistics and translation studies, with a focus on interfaces and synergies between the fields.
A Study in Nanosyntax
Michal Starke (Tromsoe University, Norway)
Abstract: As syntactic research has gradually become more detailed and empirically fine-tuned, it has become more plausible that domains called ‚morphology‘ and ‚syntax‘ by traditional descriptivists are in fact a single computational engine, also involving much of what has been called formal semantics in the generative tradition. Keeping them modular is initially attractive but quickly devolves into redundancy as one goes beyond coarse labels such as ‚oblique case‘, ‚satellite framed languages‘ or ‚participle‘. This workshop invites papers exploring the interplay of fine-grained syntactic structures with morphology and formal semantics, via the *ABA generalisation, packaging of structurally disparate interpretable features into a single morpheme and other diagnostics bringing morphology, semantics and syntax together.
Nature of change
František Kratochvíl (Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Palacký University Olomouc)
Abstract: Languages possess grammatical means to encode the nature and progression of change described by predicates. This is referred to as affectedness (e.g. Hopper and Thompson 1980; Tenny 1997; Dowty 1991; Beavers 2011; Beavers et al. 2017) or event culmination (Demirdache and Martin 2015).
This workshop focuses on two questions: (i) what the grammatical means to encode the change (lexicon, morphology, syntax) and how is the change trajectory conceptualised, and (ii) what are the available vectors to track the change (patient, benefactive, self-benefactive, etc.), as in (Fried 2011, 2014; Kratochvíl and Delpada 2015, and others). Submissions are invited on languages of Asia and Oceania, but relevant submissions comparing two or more languages, which include languages of Asia or Oceania, are also encouraged.
The Czech koruna (CZK or Kč) is the official currency in the Czech Republic. The approximate exchange rate (as of 10 March 2016) is 27.05 CZK to a Euro and 24.65 CZK to a US Dollar. Exchange rates for all major currencies are available here.
Czech sockets are standard European sockets CEE 7/5, with a voltage of 230 V/50Hz. All visitors coming from countries using appliances/plugs that do not work with such sockets/voltages (e.g. USA, UK) are advised to bring adapters.
Czech mobile phone operators use both of the two standard European GSM bands, 1800 and 900 MHz. All European mobile phones will work without problems but visitors from the US may need a tri-band phone.
The country calling code for the Czech Republic is +420.
Czech Republic has a temperate continental climate, with temperatures averaging 17°C during the day in early June. Worst comes to worst, a raincoat or an umbrella may be of some use. Current forecast is available here.
Selected papers presented at the Olomouc Linguistics Colloquium 2018 will be included in a peer-reviewed volume with the conference proceedings. Like in the previous years, the book will be submitted for inclusion in the Web of Science™.
The newly published proceedings from Olinco 2016 is available here (.pdf).
The electronic version of the Olinco 2014 proceedings, entitled Complex Visibles Out There can be downloaded here (.pdf). The volume is a part of the Olomouc Modern Language Series.
Selected papers presented at the Olomouc Linguistics Colloquium 2013 are included in the proceedings entitled Language Use and Linguistic Structure (.pdf) and in a separate themed monograph entitled Nominal Structures: All in Complex DPs (.pdf). Both books have been included in the Web of Science™.
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