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    The research team of the SIR Programme 2014 project on Comparing Nominal Predication at the Interfaces: a cross-linguistic study (project code: RBSI140Q5F, PI: Francesca Ramaglia) is pleased to announce the:


    Workshop on Existential Constructions (WEC-SIR)


    The WEC-SIR is granted by the MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca) and will be combined with the IGG44 Congress in Rome, on March 2nd (morning session).


    Existential Constructions provide an issue of intensive and relevant research in the literature, as their modular and interface-based study can shed light on the functioning of human language, including cognitive aspects, the nature of predication and the information-structural quality of marked constructions.


    The WEC-SIR event thus aims at creating a platform for discussion on existential structures in a cross-linguistic pective.


    With this goal in mind, we welcome papers dealing with existential structures in different theoretical frameworks androaches.


    Possible research topics include but are not limited to:

    • The connection between existential and locative constructions.

    • The Definiteness Effect, with particular reference to the similarities and asymmetries between languages that show this phenomenon (e.g., English) and languages that (at least apparently) do not (e.g., Italian).

    • Existential-like constructions (e.g., the so-called there-sentences with a different meaning w.r.t. existentials, as in French Il y a le telephone qui sonne, ‘The phone is ringing’ [lit. ‘There is the phone that is ringing’] and Italian C’è un uomo che ti cerca ‘Someone is looking for you’ [lit. ‘There is a man who is looking for you’]) and on their connection with existential structures proper.

    • The relation between existentials and other information-structurally marked predicative sentences (e.g., clefts and pseudoclefts, presentational constructions, etc.).

    • Documentation and analysis of existential sentences in minor languages.

    All authors who present their work in the Workshop will be invited to submit their paper to be published in a special number of an International Journal dedicated to “Existential Constructions”, as a final product of the project.




    Richard S. Kayne (New York University)

    Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona)






    Abbott, Barbara (1992), Definiteness, existentials, and the ‘list’ interpretation, in Chris Barker & David Dowty (eds.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (=SALT) II, Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, 1-16.

    Abbott, Barbara (1993), A pragmatic account of the definiteness effect in existential sentences, Journal of Pragmatics 19, 39-55.

    Bruening, Benjamin (2010), Language-particular syntactic rules and constraints: English locative inversion and do-support, Language 86 (1): 43-84.

    Cruschina, Silvio, (2012), Focus in existential sentences, in Bianchi Valentina & Cristiano Chesi (eds.), Enjoy linguistics! Papers Offered to Luigi Rizzi on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday, Siena: CISCL Press, 77-107.

    Cruschina, Silvio (2015), Patterns of variation in existential constructions, Isogloss 1(1), 33-65.

    Francez, Itamar (2007), Existential Propositions, Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University.

    Heim, Irene (1987), Where does the definiteness restriction apply? Evidence from the definiteness of variables, in Reuland Eric & Alice ter Meulen (eds.) The Representation of (In)definiteness, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 21-42.

    Kayne, Richard S. (2016), The Unicity of There and the Definiteness Effect, Ms., New York University.

    La Fauci, Nunzio & Michele Loporcaro (1997), Outline of a theory of existentials on evidence from Romance, Studi Italiani di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata 26(1), 5-55.

    McNally, Louise (1997), A Semantics for the English Existential Construction, New York: Garland.

    McNally, Louise (2011), Existential sentences, in von Heusinger, Klaus Claudia Maienborn & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics. An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning, Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1829-1848.

    Milsark, Gary (1974), Existential Sentences in English, Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.

    Safir, Kenneth J. (1982), Syntactic Chains and the Definiteness Effect, PhD dissertation, MIT.

    Stowell, Tim A. (1978), What was there before there was there, Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistic Society 14, 458-471.

    Ward, Gregory & Betty Birner (1995), Definiteness and the English existential, Language 71, 722-742.

    Zamparelli, Roberto (2000), Layers in the Determiner Phrase, New York: Garland.

    Zucchi, Alessandro (1995), The ingredients of definiteness and the definiteness effect, Natural Language Semantics 3, 33-78.



    Submission Deadline:
    November 15th, 2017

    Notification of Acceptance:
    January 15th, 2018

    For more information follow this link.



    The IGG participation is open and free.
    However, we would kindly ask the attendees to register both to the workshop and to the social dinner by filling this simple Registration Form.



     To submit your abstract click here.
    For more information follow this link.



    Flyer: (Coming Soon)

    Program: PDF

    Book of Abstracts: (Coming Soon)

    Directions: PDF

    Accommodation: PDF










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