LINGUIST List 33.2398

Tue Aug 02 2022

Calls: General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Syntax/Germany

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 02-Aug-2022
From: Max Bonke <>
Subject: Creativity and routine in proposition reconstructions under ellipsis (Workshop at DGfS conference 2023, Cologne, Germany)
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Full Title: Creativity and Routine in Proposition Reconstructions under Ellipsis (Workshop at DGfS Conference 2023, Cologne, Germany)
Short Title: DGfS-45

Date: 10-Mar-2023 - 12-Mar-2023
Location: Cologne, Germany
Contact Person: Max Bonke
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 15-Aug-2022

Meeting Description:

Conference date: March 8 to March 10, 2023
Conference location: University of Cologne, Germany
Conference URL:
Workshop Convenors: Max Bonke (University of Cologne) and Volker Struckmeier (RUB)

Second Call for Papers:

Elliptical utterances can fulfill propositional functions in discourse. As such, they can, e.g., be used to answer questions and be rejected as untrue (e.g., by B and A2. respectively, in example 1 below):

(1) A1: How many burgers did you eat?
B: Twelve.
A2: No, no, no, that can't be true!

In our workshop, we ask how variable the encoding and interpretation of elliptical utterances can be – and how creative our theories will thus have to become. We are specifically interested, therefore, in data that have hitherto not been centrally discussed, and approaches to ellipsis resolution that challenge established theories.

While syntactic, discourse, information-theoretic and other explanations (e.g., Merchant 2004, Reich 2007, Lemke 2020) have been proposed, ellipsis research is still limited empirically in other ways. We ask whether (or where) ellipsis phenomena exist which would force our theories to become even more creative:

I. Most theories of ellipsis are based on a restricted sample of (mostly Indo-European) languages. Would a typologically more diverse range of languages lead us to discover structures which are unexpected, given the ellipsis literature so far? Would ellipsis data from signed languages do so?

II. What can structurally diverse environments reveal about options for creative uses of ellipsis? Do ellipsis options differ between semantically different clause types (independently of or in addition to syntactic factors)? Can embedded environments (e.g., complement or relative clauses) shed new lights on how ellipsis works in a way that the standard main clause cannot? Do comparatively under-researched clause types (e.g., exclamatives, optatives) allow for different ellipsis options? Does ellipsis work differently depending on the truth, falsity or contingency of the utterance that (partially) elides – or of antecedent utterances from the discourse?

III. Ellipsis theories often presuppose a 'normally functioning discourse', examples of which are provided by linguists. Can quantitative data from corpus/production studies (e.g., on challenging performance conditions) force us to allow for more (or less) creativity in ellipsis options? How differently from fully competent speakers do (L1 or L2) learners use ellipsis? Conversely, could ellipsis be 'easier' (more creative?) in writing, where, e.g., memory retrieval is less of an issue?

IV. Last, but not least, we invite new theoretical analyses that make interesting predictions regarding (im-) possible elliptical forms, and/or the interpretation of elliptical utterances, given a discourse context.

We hope to attract researchers interested in challenging ellipsis theories by showing the creative uses, diverse contexts and complex conditions of ellipsis.

Abstract submission guidelines:
Abstracts should be submitted anonymously in PDF format and not exceed 500 words, excluding references. Talks will be 20 minutes, with 10 minutes additional time for discussion.

Workshop information:
The DGfS organizers currently expect that the conference will be held on-site in Cologne, not online. Presenters will thus be expected to make the necessary travel arrangements. A limited number of travel grants are available for presenters who are DGfS members and have low (or no) income.

References: Lemke, Robin. 2020. Experimental investigations on the syntax and usage of fragments. Universität des Saarlandes Dissertation.
Merchant, Jason. 2004. Fragments and ellipsis. Linguistics and Philosophy 27:661–738.
Reich, Ingo. 2007. Toward a uniform analysis of short answers and gapping. In Kerstin Schwabe & Susanne Winkler (eds.), On information structure, meaning and form. 467–484. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Page Updated: 02-Aug-2022