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Workshop "QP structure, Nominalizations, and the role of DP"

25.08.2005 - (idw) Universität des Saarlandes

call for posters and participation

This international workshop on "QP structure, Nominalizations, and the role of DP" takes place in Saarbruecken at the Center for Language Research and Technology, 16-17 December 2005. It is organized by Anastasia Giannakidou (Chicago) and Monika Rathert (Saarbruecken). The workshop is financed by the German Research Foundation DFG (GZ 4851-179-05). Full Title: QP structure, Nominalizations, and the role of DP

Date: 16-Dec-2005 - 17-Dec-2005
Location: Saarbruecken, Germany
Contact Person: Monika Rathert
Meeting email:
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Fields: Semantics, Syntax, Morphology, General Linguistics, Typology

Call Deadline: 1-Oct-2005

Call information:
See below for the program of the workshop. In addition to the talks, there is room for poster presentations. Please send your poster abstract (not more than 2 pages) via email to
Deadline for poster abstracts: October 1st 2005.


Friday, 12/16/05
09.00-09.40 Anastasia Giannakidou & Monika Rathert: Opening
09.40-10.20 Lisa Matthewson: t.b.a.
10.20-11.00 Artemis Alexiadou: The syntax of derived nominals
11.20-12.00 Manfred Bierwisch: Nominalization vs. Verbalization: predictable differences
12.00-12.40 Ulrike Demske: Nominalization Patterns in Competition
14.10-14.50 Urtzi Etxeberria: Contextually restricted quantification in Basque
14.50-15.30 Veronika Ehrich: Constraints on Eventivity in Nominalizations
15.50-16.30 Angelika Kratzer: What can domain widening do to a quantifier?
16.30-17.10 Manfred Krifka: t.b.a.
17.10-17.50 Kook-Hee Gil & George Tsoulas: t.b.a.
17.50-18.50 plenary discussion

Saturday, 12/17/05
09.00-09.40 Lisa Cheng: The quantificational structure in Chinese
09.40-10.20 Hagit Borer: The name of the adjective
10.40-11.20 Heidi Harley: The count/mass properties and event types of deverbal and
underived nPs in English
11.20-12.00 Helen de Hoop: Argument strength
12.00-12.40 Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm: Nominalizations, partitives and pseudo-
partitives in a global perspective
14.10-14.50 Tom Roeper: Covert A-movement and LF effects deliver a typology of
14.50-15.30 Louise McNally: Properties, entities of properties, and kinds
15.30-16.10 Caroline Heycock & Roberto Zamparelli: t.b.a.
16.30-17.10 Tal Siloni: Event nominals and arity operations
17.10-17.50 Luisa Marti: Spanish unos and algunos and the syntax/semantics of
17.50-18.30 Frans Zwarts: t.b.a.
18.30-19.30 plenary discussion
19.30-22.00 party


In the recent literature, the properties of QPs have enjoyed a renewed interest. Apart from the celebrated weak versus strong distinction Milsark (1977), the particular semantic and syntactic properties of the building blocks of QPs stand in the centre of attention: the NPs, DPs, and the role of the quantificational determiners as well as the definite determiner D. In light primarily of crosslinguistic results, the discussion of these classical topics has reconsidered some of the fundamental aspects of QP internal syntax and semantics, and major issues such as definiteness and indefiniteness, kind reference, number marking, partitivity, and the way presuppositions are built into the very meanings of quantifiers themselves has been rekindled. Under debate is currently whether the individual meanings and categorial status of QP constituents vary across languages (e.g. as suggested in Chierchia's nominal mapping parameter, Chierchia (1998)), or whether we want to revise altogether our standard theory of QP structure (thus also our classical theory of quantification, as suggested in Matthewson (2001) but critiqued in Giannakidou (2004)).

In this context, the role of D and DP has been central. D has been argued to materialize contextual restriction Giannakidou (2004), and it is interesting to see what this claim predicts for languages employing no overt determiners or number marking, or for those allowing distinct compositions, with or without D, for weak and strong determiners respectively (e.g. Basque). Additionally, mechanisms of type shifting have been explored to allow the appropriate kinds of outputs for composition.

D has also shown to be central in nominalizations. Some nominalizations are categorially ambiguous, like the ing-forms in (1)-(3), and for these, the syntactic nature is not always easy to determine (Alexiadou (2001), Rathert (2005)):

(1) mixed nominalization: John's careful hunting of the bear
(2) gerund: John's carefully hunting the bear
(3) participle in the progressive: John is hunting the bear

It has been suggested that syntactic nominalizations share with noun phrases (whether simple nouns or lexical nominalizations) the same external layer, the functional projection DP (Siloni (1997), Hazout (1995)). Within this program of research, the discrepancies between noun phrases (especially, event nominals) and syntactic nominalizations follow from the fact that noun phrases have an internal nominal structure, while syntactic nominalizations entail a verbal projection that is allowed to be dominated by the functional projection DP as it lacks temporal specifications. The question is to what extend the nominal and verbal DPs (i.e. the ones that embed a VP rather than an NP) share certain characteristics, e.g. regarding presuppositions of existence or actualization.

Nominalizations are a kind of prism through which to see linguistic theory. Nearly every syntactic theory from Lees (1960) and Chomsky (1970) onwards was tested in its ability to tackle these special objects. As Tom Roeper puts it in his most recent work on nominalizations,

"many people have the intuition that the right level of abstraction in grammar would equally capture a description of both sentences and nominalizations[...]. To put it more succinctly: where theories fail to extend naturally to include the effects of category-changing derivational affixes, the theories themselves fail to be natural. Numerous proposals, with increasingly subtle distinctions have been advanced (Randall 1984, Sproat 1985, Zucchi 1989) and extensions to many other languages. In each instance, the proposal veers either toward an exceptional treatment of nominalizations, or toward an abstraction that makes nominalizations seem just like sentences. The former solution seems conceptually inadequate while the latter solutions usually fail to capture many of the facts." Roeper (2005, p.125)

Also, Chomsky's Remarks on Nominalizations threw attention on the division of labor between syntax and the lexicon, an especially fruitful debate that is still going on.
While everybody agrees that nominalizations stand in the centre of linguistics, the same can be said about QP and D. The building blocks of QPs (NP, DP, Q-det, D) relate in obvious ways to fundamental issues such as definiteness and indefiniteness, kind reference, number marking, partitivity, and presuppositions

In this workshop, we want to address recent developments in the area of QPs, nominalizations, and the linking element D. We want to invite discussions among the various paradigms paving the way towards a more comprehensive understanding of how quantification and nominalizations are encoded in the grammar. We believe that cross-paradigm and cross-linguistic cooperation in this field of research is especially important, and one of the aims of the workshop is to bring people together and to foster cooperation in this way.

Alexiadou, Artemis. 2001. Functional Structure in Nominals. Nominalization and ergativity. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Chierchia, Gennaro. 1998. Reference to kinds across languages. Natural Language Semantics, 6.339-405.

Chomsky, Noam. 1970. Remarks on nominalization. Readings in English Transformational Grammar, ed. by Roderick A. Jacobs and Peter S. Rosenbaum, 184-221. Waltham MA: Ginn & Company.

Giannakidou, Anastasia. 2004. Domain restriction and the arguments of quantificational determiners. Paper presented at SALT 14.

Hazout, Ilan. 1995. Action nominalizations and the lexicalist hypothesis. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 13.355-404.

Lees, Robert B. 1960. The grammar of English nominalizations. The Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.

Matthewson, Lisa. 2001. Quantification and the nature of crosslinguistic variation. Natural Language Semantics, 9.145-89.

Milsark, G. 1977. Toward an Explanation of Certain Peculiarities of the Existential Construction In English. Linguistic Analysis, 3.1-29.

Rathert, Monika. 2005. Nominalisierungen: Sprachgeschichte und Morphosyntax. Habilitationsschrift. Ms, Universität Saarbrücken.

Roeper, Thomas. 2005. Chomsky's Remarks and the transformationalist hypothesis. The Handbook of English Word Formation, ed. by Pavol Stekauer and Rochelle Lieber, 125-46. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Siloni, Tal. 1997. Noun phrases and nominalizations: the syntax of DPs. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Important dates:
Deadline for abstract submission for posters: 1 October 2005
Notification of acceptance for posters: 31 October 2005
Program: 5 November 2005
Weitere Informationen: - see this page for a detailed motivation
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