Workshop on Formal Grammar and Syntactic Variation

Rethinking Parameters

27th-28th October 2011 - Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Madrid, Spain)


Scientific committee

David Adger (London University),

Pilar Barbosa (Universidade do Minho),

José María Brucart (UAB),

Violeta Demonte (CCHS-CSIC),

Anders Holmberg (New Castle University),

Guillermo Lorenzo (Universidad de Oviedo).

Shigeru Miyagawa (MIT),

Isabel Oltra Masuet (CCHS-CSIC).

Javier Ormazábal (UPV),

Cecilia Poletto (Universidad de Venecia),

Gemma Rigau (UAB),

Ian Roberts (University of Cambridge)

Invited speakers

David Adger (Queen Mary, University of London, UK),

Ian Roberts (University of Cambridge, UK)

The aim of this workshop is to explore the explanatory power of formal approaches to syntactic variation. The workshop will bring together scholars working on some of the issues that are being addressed within the generativist Principles and Parameters framework, such as the extend to which the conceptual apparatus and analytical tools of the Minimalist Program can account for variation phenomena, the specification of the locus for variation, and the compatibility of formal and non formal analyses of variation.    

In particular, we are interested in papers that address one or several of the following (or related) issues:

  1. 1.Do parameters (i.e. clusters of related syntactic properties) really exist? (cf. Newmeyer 2005, Roberts & Holmberg 2005, Biberauer 2008)

  2. 2. Which is the locus of syntactic variation? Is parametric variation restricted to the (functional) lexicon (cf. Borer 1984, Wexler & Manzini 1987, Fukui 1988, Ouhalla, 1991)? Are there, in addition, 'grammatical' parameters, with global effects on the grammar of a language (Baker 2008)? Are 'semantic'parameters also to be found in the mapping to the conceptual-intentional system? (Chierchia 1998).

  3. 3.Are there macroparameters (Baker 1996, 2008)? Can they be fully reduced to microparametric variation (Kayne 2005)?

  4. 4.Is there a parameter hierarchy (Baker 2001, Newmeyer 2005)? What form does it take, if any?

  5. 5.Is the variation space limited by 'parameter schemata' (Longobardi 2005)?

  6. 6.Which is the status of parameters in the architecture of the language faculty? How is parametric variation to be viewed, in particular, under the current minimalist assumption of an underspecified UG? (i.e. are parameters primitives of UG or rather represent emergent properties of the language system? Kandybowicz 2009, Boeckx to appear, Berwick & Chomsky to appear)?

  7. 7.Are formal and non-formal theories of syntactic variation compatible (Adger & Smith 2005, Barbiers 2005)?


Luis Eguren (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Olga Fernández Soriano (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Amaya Mendikoetxea (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)