Venue: Schloss Freudental, 78476 Allensbach-Freudental (near Konstanz), Germany

Clause Typing and the Syntax-to-Discourse Relation in Head-Final Languages

Call for Papers!

This workshop, hosted by the DFG-funded research project Clause Structure and Utterance Meaning: Word Order, Particles, Emphasis, aims at bringing together linguists who work on head-final languages with a focus on the upper clausal periphery and formal aspects of at-issue and non at-issue meaning. Aside from the invited speakers, there will be room for a maximum of 14 papers of 30 minutes to be presented. Abstracts should be maximally 2 pages long. The submission deadline is 30 November 2017.

Please submit your papers via EasyChair using the following link:


Many details have been clarified in the recent past about clause typing and the syntax-to-discourse relation. Nevertheless, mainstream theorizing in this area continues to be dominated by views that emanate from generalizations about head-initial languages, for which the split-CP analysis has proposed a richly organized left clausal periphery.

Strictly head-final languages show clause-initial topic constructions but nothing like a more articulated left periphery. Instead they show a more or less richly organized right periphery as expected from the Mirror Principle (Baker, 1985). Nevertheless, many head-final languages have typologically “deviant” complement clauses with initial instead of final complementizers. Many show an equally mixed picture of clause-medial and clause-final discourse and focus particles. Even the strictest head-final languages have the option of displacing constituents to the post-verbal domain. Theoretical proposals are so far highly heterogeneous: rightward scrambling, rightward movement to clause-final specifiers, leftward movement followed by remnant movement, copying and eliding, prosodic restructuring. Given that displacement is usually not arbitrary, what is its motivation, and what are its semantic or pragmatic effects?

Issues of the head-final organization of syntax should be discussed with a focus on clause type and the projection of clause types into more fine-grained distinctions that give rise to varieties of illocutionary meanings. The interrogative type, to take a prominent example, appears next to its association with the standard information-seeking impact, in sub-types of “special” or “non-standard questions” (H.-G. Obenauer): rhetorical, surprise, disapproval, reproach, exclamative, “aggressively” non D-linked, the hell, why-like what etc. Work on interrogatives would be a start, but the workshop is thematically completely open. The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers with a particular interest in the syntax and semantics of head-final languages and the way the higher functional field is implemented in these languages. A by no means exhaustive list of potential topics would be the following:

  • Clausal subordination in head-final languages.
  • The formal side of expressive and non-at- issue meaning.
  • Information structure versus expressive/emphatic structure.
  • The syntactic status of clause typing particles and further particles such as discourse particles and focus particles or so-called “emphasizers”.
  • The root relatedness of discourse particles in dependent clauses.
  • Non-standard questions in comparison with standard information-seeking questions.
  • The nature of “wh-in- situ”. Are there different types? 
  • The post-verbal space, its derivation, and interpretive effects of postposing (“leaking”).

The theoretical focus of the workshop is rooted in research questions that are related to generative grammar, especially generative syntax. Nevertheless, the workshop is open to alternative frameworks and approaches – linguistic typology, usage-based grammar, formal semantics etc. – that may enhance our understanding of head-finality and its space of parametric variation.

Invited Speakers

  • Diti Bhadra (Rutgers University, New Jersey)
  • Probal Dasgupta (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata)
  • Yoshio Endo (Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba)
  • Masayuki Oishi (Tohoku Gakuin University, Sendai)
  • Andrew Simpson (University of Southern California, Los Angeles)

Date and Venue

15-17 May, 2018
Schloss Freudental, 78476 Allensbach-Freudental (near Konstanz), Germany


Prof. Dr. Josef Bayer (University of Konstanz)
Yvonne Viesel (University of Konstanz)