The Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, announces the 3rd conference "Constructional & Lexical Semantic Approaches to Russian" to be held in St. Petersburg, September 12-14, 2013.
Like the first two conferences in the series (March 12-14, 2009 and March 24-26, 2011), this third meeting will focus on the issues of Russian syntax. Its central theme is the relation between formal properties of various syntactic constructions in Russian and their semantic, pragmatic and discourse properties. Participants are encouraged to discuss not only regular syntactic patterns, but also "marginal" types of constructions that are often at (or beyond) the fringes of syntactic description and offer a challenge to theoretical understanding.
Inquiry into the syntax of Russian has long been associated with the study of semantic and pragmatic properties of syntactic units. Simplifying somewhat, two types of approach have emerged in the study of complex syntactic units: "bottom-up" ("lexical semantic approach") and "top-down" ("constructional approach"). The lexical semantic approach takes as its starting point combinatorial potential of individual lexemes; in particular, the distribution of syntactic patterns is often claimed to reflect subtleties of lexical semantics (cf. the work by Yurij D. Apresjan and the Moscow Semantic School in general). According to this approach, semantic and syntactic properties of complex constructions are derivable from semantic and combinatorial properties of their component parts.
The central unit in the constructional approach is a construction - a complex form-meaning pairing for which semantic and syntactic features are not predictable from the properties of the component parts. The primary task in the investigation of a construction is to establish its syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties as those of an independent discourse unit, while its component parts are generally analyzed on the basis of the contribution they make to the whole. Within "Western" linguistic tradition, this type of approach is typical of various kinds of Construction grammars (Ch. Fillmore, A. Goldberg, etc.); some studies within Russian traditional syntax are based on similar (though usually implicit) theoretical assumptions.
The conference is not directly associated with any particular theoretical platform. However, we hope that the multifaceted discussion of various empirical data will bring us to a better understanding of theoretical issues related to the syntax of Russian (and beyond); in particular, we encourage discussion of the highs and lows of bottom-up and top-down approaches to syntactic phenomena.
Call for papers
The aim of the conference is to gather researchers who are interested in the topic of the conference irrespective of their official status; the participation of young researchers, including students, is very welcome. Abstracts based on work in progress are also welcome, provided there are already some empirical findings to be presented at the conference.
Abstracts should not be longer than two pages (3600 characters, including examples and references) and should be sent as .pdf or .doc attachments to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for abstract submission is June 1, 2013. Please indicate the following information in the body of the letter: author's name(s), affiliation(s), contact e-mail, telephone number.
The working languages of the conference are English and Russian, abstracts can be written in either language. Participants will be allotted 20 minutes for presentation plus 10 minutes for discussion. We will notify of the acceptance / rejection before July 1, 2013.
Organizing committee: Sofia Oskolskaya, Maria Ovsjannikova, Sergey Say
Please feel free to forward this information to whoever might be interested in the topic.
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