- apologizes for multiple posting -
CALL FOR PAPERS
Workshop/Conference: The Diachronic Typology of Differential
University of Konstanz, April 5-6, 2014
Differential marking of grammatical relations has been the topic of
a number of investigations. However, no large-scale, comprehensive
study of the historical development of the differential case-marking
strategies has been carried out yet. The present workshop aims at
filling this gap. Its task is to uncover the multi-factorial
mechanisms leading to the rise of the differential argument marking,
more specifically, to the Differential Subject- (DSM) and the
Differential Object Marking (DOM).
The phenomenon of the DOM/DSM is typically conditioned various
factors such as definiteness and/or specificity, or discourse
prominence, cf. Aissen (2003), Bossong (1998), von Heusinger and
Kaiser (2007), Kittilä (2006), Kittilä et al. (2011), Leonetti
(2004), just to mention some. Cross-linguistically, it may be
differently realized formally and triggered by a variety of
conditions (cf. de Hoop and de Swart 2008). Beside DOM/DSM based on
formal or semantic properties of the respective NP, it may also be
governed by the tense or aspectual properties of the verb phrase or
the clause type (de Hoop, forthc.). The DSM/DOM phenomena are also
sensitive to the thematic roles of the respective arguments (e.g.,
rather to agents and less to experiencers), and their inherent
properties. Thus DSM often involves the marking of highly agentive
subjects rather than atypical ones (cf. de Hoop and Malchukov 2007,
de Hoop and de Swart 2008), in order to contrast both arguments of a
Striking about the DOM/DSM phenomena is the fact that the
aforementioned distinctions are often morphologically expressed by
assigning distinct cases, quasi-allomorph case affixes or
prepositions to encode these contrasts. From the typological
research we know, however, that the primary function of case is to
encode relations among constituents of a clause (Blake 2001),
including the thematic roles, whereas such NP properties as
definiteness/specificity/non-referentiality, animacy, and discursive
prominence are typically encoded by other means, e.g., by
determiners primarily. We ask how this atypical functional extension
of the case-related morphological inventory emerges historically.
We are not only interested in the functional history of the
phenomenon; syntactic changes that lead to syntactically uniform
behaviour of both alternating markings is equally interesting and
unstudied. Thus, at an early developmental stage, the assignment of
different cases may have impact on the syntactic properties of that
argument, cf. (1) from Russian:
(1) Ja vypil sok /
I:NOM drink:PAST juice:ACC(=NOM) / juice-GEN
‘I drank up the jouce / I drank (some) juice.’
The clause in (1), if uttered with the object NP sok, can be
passivized, while with the (partitive) genitive-marked NP sok-a the
passivization and thereby the promotion of the object NP into the
subject is not available.
Essentially, while our knowledge on functional semantics of DOM/DSM
and its possible integration into different approaches to grammar
has considerably increased in the last decades, there has not been
done much research on how DOM/DSM arise across languages and what
are the triggering mechanisms for it. The whole process involving a
non-trivial shift in the domain of application from the functional
domain of a "typical" case, i.e. from encoding relations among
constituents, into, e.g., the domain of definiteness or specificity,
ontological classes or aspectually relevant opposition (e.g.,
partitive vs. total in Finnic), has not been extensively studied
We invite contributions relating to any aspect of the DSM/DOM
diachrony from any perspective. We emphasize that diachrony does not
necessarily imply reconstructions of proto-stages of a language or
involvement of ancient texts. Diachronic changes can be observed on
a quasi-synchronic level, e.g., between the conservative and
colloquial style of a present day language. Moreover, such
quasi-synchronic changes can often be described and analyzed even at
a more fine-grained level and, hence, provide for more insights on
what kind of diachronic processes DAM systems typically undergo.
We welcome studies dealing with macro-changes (e.g., with the rise
or demise of DAM) as well as studies treating micro-changes (e.g.,
changes in the functional semantics of a particular DAM system).
Possible questions that might be addressed includes (but are not
confined to) the following:
- What is the etymology of the morphological markers that gave rise
- How to model the functional shift of a prototypical case marker
into a DSM/DOM marker with the respective (e.g., determiner-like)
semantics in the particular case?
- How to model the morphosyntactic development from a solid,
valence-driven case frame of a predicate into a sort of labile
predicate with a DSM/DOM-driven case frame?
- What kinds of morphosyntactic processes enable overriding or
loosening the case frame?
- What kind of syntactic changes accompany rise, development and
demise of DAM?
- Are the animacy-driven, definiteness-driven,
information-structure-driven DOM/DSM phenomena diachronically
interrelated with regard to their relative chronology? Which
function is typically acquired first?
- What is the relative chronology of the lexical input restrictions
in the rise of DOM/DSM? Which NP types acquire DOM/DSM first and
- How can DOM/DSM phenomena be transferred or copied via language
- How do DOM/DSM disappear in favor of a straightforward government?
- Can DOM/DSM be regarded as just transitional stages in a
development, whereby some new, productive case-marking pattern
replaces the old one (or the lack thereof) and develops into a
canonical object or subject case-marking, respectively, gradually
affecting more and more NP types?
Aissen, Judith (2003): Differential Object marking:
Iconicity vs. Economy. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 21,
Blake, Barry J. (2001): Case. Cambridge textbooks in linguistics.
2nd edition. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bossong, G. (1998): Le marquage différentiel de l’objet dans les
langues d’Europe. In: Feuillet, J. (ed.): Actance et Valence dans
les Language de l’Europe. Berlin, New York : Mouton de Gryuter,
de Hoop, Helen, forthc.: The rise of animacy based differential
subject marking in Dutch. In: Seržant, I. A. and L. Kulikov
(eds.), The The Diachronic Typology of Non-canonical Subjects.
SLCS. Amsterdam/Philadelphia. John Benjamins.
de Hoop, Helen and Malchukov, Andrej (2007): On fluid differential
case marking: a bidirectional OT account. Lingua 117, 1636-1656.
de Hoop, Helen and Peter de Swart eds., (2008): Differential
subject marking. Dordrecht: Springer.
von Heusinger, Klaus and Georg A. Kaiser (2007): Differential
Object Marking and the lexical semantics of verbs in Spanish. In:
Kaiser, G.A. and M. Leonetti (eds.): Proceedings of the Workshop
“Definiteness, Specificity and Animacy in Ibero-Romance
Languages”. Universität Constance (Fachbereich Sprachwissenschaft.
Arbeitspapier 122), 85-110.
Kittilä, Seppo T. (2006): Object-, animacy- and role-based
strategies: A typology of object marking, Studies in Language
Kittilä, Seppo, Jussi Ylikoski, Katja Västi, eds., (2011): Case
Animacy and Semantic Roles. Typological Studies in Language 99.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia. John Benjamins.
Leonetti, Manuel (2004): Specificity and differential object
marking in Spanish. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 3, 75-114
[revised version of: Specificity and object marking: the case of
Spanish a. In: K. von Heusinger & G.A. Kaiser (eds.).
Proceedings of the Workshop “Semantic and Syntactic Aspects of
Specificity in Romance Languages”. Arbeitspapier 113. Fachbereich
Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Constance 2003, 67-101].
Klaus von Heusinger
Seppo Kittilä and Jussi Ylikoski
Abstracts are invited for the workshop session. Each presentation
has 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Only one paper
per participant is admitted.
Abstracts should be anonymous, maximally of one page in length,
excluding references and examples (in .doc, .pdf or .docx).
Abstracts should be submitted per e-mail at
The URL of the workshop is:
The deadline for the submission of the abstract is: November 10,
Applicants will be notified of abstract acceptance by:
November 20, 2013.
All contributors will be invited to submit a version of their paper
to be published in a peer-reviewed conference follow-up volume.
Further details may be found on the webpage:
ant & Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
Ilja A. Seržant, postdoc
University of Konstanz
Department of Linguistics
Zukunftskolleg, Box 216
Tel.: +49 753 188 5672