LINGUIST List 33.2026

Thu Jun 16 2022

Confs: Historical Linguistics, Syntax, Typology/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 15-Jun-2022
From: Robin Meyer <>
Subject: Quid est «qui»? Relative clauses from Proto-Italic to Proto-Romance
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Quid est «qui»? Relative clauses from Proto-Italic to Proto-Romance
Short Title: QIQ2022

Date: 01-Jul-2022 - 02-Jul-2022
Location: Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
Contact: Robin Meyer
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Syntax; Typology

Subject Language(s): English; French; Latin; Oscan; Umbrian

Language Family(ies): Italic; Romance

Meeting Description:

In the research on historical syntax of early Indo-European languages, few constructions have received as much attention as relative clauses (e.g. HETTRICH 1988 on Vedic Sanskrit, POMPEI 2011 on Latin, PROBERT 2015 on early Greek, to name but a few), and for good reason: they are among few syntagmata which can be studied with any degree of certainty and rigour across time, and are frequently the cradle of other constructions such as object clauses. While their ultimate origin within Proto-Indo-European remains a matter of further research and debate, the variety and complexity of relative clause constructions in the Indo-European daughter languages coincides with typological observations of such structures in other languages and language families (HEINE & KUTEVA 2002:113–15, 251; HENDERY 2012: 48–55; DRYER 2013).

The purpose of this conference is to explore further the synchronic structure and semantics, diachronic development, and syntactic typology of relative clauses in one of the most well documented branches of Indo-European: the Italic languages. We hope to bring together young and already established researchers from historical linguistics and classical philology working on these and related topics, ranging in time from Proto-Italic to Proto-Romance. Some of the key questions we seek to address are the following:

- What does the Sabellic evidence mean for our reconstruction of Proto-Italic relative clauses?
- To what extent and for what reason do relativisation strategies in pre-Classical, Classical, and post-Classical Latin differ?
- Do different relativisation strategies exhibit different semantic restrictions?
- What, if any, influence has Greek syntax had on Latin relativisation strategies?
- Does the ancient grammatical tradition coincide with our modern understanding of how relative clauses were used?
- How far are later developments in the Romance languages prefigured in late Latin relative clauses and related syntagmata?

DRYER, M. S. (2013) “Order of Relative Clause and Noun”, in M. S. DRYER & M. HASPELMATH (eds), The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
HEINE, B. & KUTEVA, T. (2002) World lexicon of grammaticalization, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
HENDERY, R. (2012) Relative clauses in time and space, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
HETTRICH, H. (1988) Untersuchungen zur Hypotaxe im Vedischen, Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.
POMPEI, A. (2011) “Relative Clauses”, in P. Baldi & P. Cuzzolin (eds), New Perspectives on Historical Latin Syntax, Volume 4: Complex Sentences, Grammaticalization, Typology, Berlin: De Gruter Mouton, 427–548.
PROBERT, P. (2015) Early Greek Relative Clauses, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


The programme for the conference can be found here:

Colleagues from afar may be interested in participating via Zoom. To do so, please register using the following link:
Registration for online participation closes on 29 June 2022.

Page Updated: 16-Jun-2022