LINGUIST List 30.811

Wed Feb 20 2019

Calls: Cognitive Science, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Syntax, Typology/Singapore

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 18-Feb-2019
From: Shiao Wei Tham <>
Subject: Workshop on Recent Approaches to (Non-)Agentivity in Natural Language
E-mail this message to a friend

Full Title: Workshop on Recent Approaches to (Non-)Agentivity in Natural Language

Date: 03-May-2019 - 04-May-2019
Location: Singapore, Singapore
Contact Person: Shiao Wei Tham
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science; Psycholinguistics; Semantics; Syntax; Typology

Call Deadline: 15-Mar-2019

Meeting Description:

The notion of agentivity in linguistic research straddles the intersection between syntax, semantics, and conceptual structure. Agentivity is at heart a conceptual notion, intertwined as it is with properties of volitionality, force exertion, and internal control. Traditionally, semantic considerations appealing to differing degrees and facets of agentivity and related notions such as causation, force initiation, instrument status, etc. often play a part in morphosyntactic phenomena, including argument realization, grammatical alternations, case marking (see e.g. Fillmore 1968, Croft 1991, Dowty 1991, Van Valin and Wilkins 1996), among other phenomena. Recent work has studied agentivity-related effects in further depth and from different perspectives. The role of agentivity and intentionality has been studied in regard to sentence interpretation, pertaining in particular to the non-attainment of results (Copley and Harley 2013, Demirdache and Martin 2015, Martin 2015). Agentivity-related notions have also been considered in studies of finer-grained properties of types of events and participants in the encoding of events of caused change of state (Levin 2018). More fundamentally, Evers et al. (2017) examined cultural factors in attributing responsibility to a participant in different kinds of caused events. Given the various new takes on agentivity and its related notions of causation and intentionality in recent work, it seems timely to bring scholars working on these topics to re-examine the relationships between these sub-areas, and their potential implications for one another. As the workshop will be organized by a Chinese department, a discussion of the grammatical effects of agentivity in Mandarin Chinese (as discussed for instance in Zhang 2004, Verhoeven 2010, Tham 2018) will constitute an important part of the workshop. Through exploring agentivity-related notions from a cross-linguistic perspective, we hope to reach a broader and deeper understanding of relevant phenomena, and further allow research on the Chinese languages to both draw upon, and contribute to, phenomena and views provided by other languages. (For a fuller description, please visit the conference site.)

Invited speakers (in alphabetical order):

Juergen Bohnemeyer (University at Buffalo)
Beth Levin (Stanford University)
Fabienne Martin (Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin)
Elisabeth Verhoeven (Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin)
Phillip Wolff (Emory University)

2nd Call for Papers:

Call deadline extended to March 15, 2019.

Workshop on Recent Approaches to (Non-)Agentivity in Natural Language

The Department of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore is pleased to host the workshop on Recent Approaches to (Non-)Agentivity in Natural Language on May 3-4 2019. (Conference site:

We hope to include a small number of talks (30 minutes plus 10 for questions) and posters by other presenters. We invite abstracts on (non-)agentivity phenomena in any language from any theoretical and methodological perspective, although abstracts pertaining to Chinese data will be particularly welcome

Submission guidelines:

- As the workshop will be conducted in English, only abstracts in English will be considered.
- Abstracts should be no longer than 2 A-4 pages (at least 12 point size font, 1 inch margins; including examples and references).
- Please submit no more than one single-author and one co-authored abstract (whether for a talk or a poster).

Submission Information:

- Please email a pdf file of your anonymous abstract(s) to fasaslhl(at) by March 15, 2019 (please note deadline extension).
- Include ''Agentivity Workshop'' in the subject heading of your email.
- In the body of your email, please include (i) author name(s), (ii) affiliation, (iii) the title of your paper, and (iv) indicate your preference for talk or poster (For a joint paper, please also specify the corresponding author.)

Page Updated: 20-Feb-2019