Archive for November, 2012

M and S: (morphology & syntax) or (morphology OR syntax?)

November 21, 2012

A real discussion has many faces.

The term ‘morphosyntax’ may be interpreted differently. A large number of generative grammarians believe that morphology and syntax constitute one and the same module of language, with no morphology-to-syntax interface, so terms like morphosyntax likely refer to things that belong either M or to S (agreement, case-marking etc). At the same time other grammarians, notably a group including computational linguists, stick to the need to distinguish morphology and syntax and describe them on the basis of different principles. So morphosyntax = things that  belong both to M and to S.

It may seem that people on the pictures taken during the conference ‘Typology of Morphosyntactic Parameters 2012’ (Moscow, SMSUH and Russian Academy of Sciences, November 14-16) are discussing this issue during the breaks. Not exactly this one. But they might be.

Small v and big theories:  Jim Lavine  and Leonid Iomdin.

Amazingly simple: just transitive impersonals.

In case you did not know: morphosyntax is fun. Andrei Sideltsev (r.) and Oleg Belyaev.

Morphosyntacticians can be open and friendly, if there is enough coffee: Jakov Testelets and James Lavine.

….but also really tough.

…But after all, they can be very convincing if they want to: Ekaterina Lyutikova.

‘TMP 2012’ is over. Looking forward to ‘TMP 2013’

November 17, 2012

The ‘Typology of Morphosyntactic Parameters 2012’ conference (Moscow, 14-16 November, 2012) is over. We are looking forward to ‘Typology of Morphosyntactic Parameters 2013 ‘ conference.

I would like to thank all people whose kind assistance helped to solve the difficulties and to increase the level of the conference:

— our plenary lectors Jim Lavine, Leonid Iomdin, Pavel Graschchenkov, Vladimir Alpatov and Yuri Lander for their insightful plenary talks.

— All participants who presented a paper at our conference and Natalia Bogomolova whose scheduled talk unfortunately was canceled due to force majéur circumstances.

— All our panel chairs who contributed much to making the discussion fruitful and interesting – Leonid Iomdin, Peter Arkadyev, Jakov Testelets, Lyudmila Khokhlova, Sergei Sai, Maria Ovsyannikova, Oleg Belyaev, Yuri Lander, Ekaterina Lyutikova, Natalia Serdobolskaya.

Vladimir D. Nechaev, rector of SMSUH Moscow — for his invaluable moral and organisatory support.

— The conference secretaries Tamara Astakhova and Alexey Barkovskiy for their hard and effective everyday job.

— Videotape operators from the SMSUH Technical Support Team, and personally to Olga Zmieva and Sergei Leonidovich.

Vlad Romashev, photografer and videotape operator,   who was with us all three days.

Oleg Belyaev, administrator of the conference site — for his skill and patience.

—  My friends and colleagues Peter, Katya and Jasha who shared the organizing job with me.

— Our friend Sergei Manaev whose assistance helped to lauch this conference at an early stage.

— All conference guests and discussants for their interest.

The picture above shows Pavel Grashchenkov (right) during his presentation on November 14, 2012 at the SMSUH conference room. Peter Arkadyev (left) is chairing that panel.

Typology of Morphosyntactic Parameters 2012

November 9, 2012

SMSUH Moscow and Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow are organizing and hosting a conference in linguistic typology 14 -16 November, 2012.


We are happy to introduce  James LavinePavel Graschchenkov, Leonid Iomdin, Vladimir  Alpatov and Yuri Lander as our invited speakers and welcome all conference participants and conference guests at SMSUH and Instute of Linguistics, RAS.

The conference website is: (Russian version) and (English version).

The abstracts can be downloaded from the site. The preliminary conference programme is listed below.


14 November, 2012, Wednesday

9.30-10.00 Registration.

10.00 -10.30 Conference Opening.

10.30 – 11.20. PLENARY TALK 1:

JAMES LAVINE (Bucknell university)

“Varieties of v and the Structure of ‘Anti-Burzio’ Predicates”.

10 minutes break

Case and agreement, I

11.30 – 12.00 Paper 1: Peter Arkadyev (Institute of Slavic Studies, RAS / Russian university for the humanities / SMSUH, Moscow)

«Participial agreement and two types of non-nominative subjects in Lithuanian».

12.00–12.30 Paper 2: Dmitry Ganenkov (Institute of Linguistics, RAS)

«Partial control with overt subjects: Evidence from Dargwa».

10 minutes break

12.40-13.30. PLENARY TALK 2:

PAVEL GRASHCHENKOV (Institute for Oriental Studies, RAS)

«On the Evolution of Non-Finite Verbal Forms».

Case and Agreement, II

13.30-14.00. Paper 3: Natalya Bogomolova (Institute of Linguistics, RAS)

«Cross-clausal person agreement in Tabasaran».

14.00-15.00 Lunch

15.00 – 15. 50 PLENARY TALK 3:

LEONID IOMDIN (Institute for Information Transmission Problems (Kharkevich Institute), RAS))

«Microsyntactic constructions of Russian with lexical repetition of the type читатьнечитал, но‘I didn’t really read it but’…»

Problems of Russian and General Grammar

15.50-16.20 Paper 4: Alexander Letuchiy (National Research University “High School of Economics”)

«Syntactic properties of sentential arguments of Russian predicatives».

16.20 -16.50. Paper 5: Yakov Testelets (Institute of Linguistics, RAS / Russian state university for the humanities)

«The Problem of Comparative Deletion in Russian».

10 minutes break

Miscellanious problems of linguistic typology, I

17.00 – 17.30 Paper 6: Kirill Babaev (Институт востоковедения РАН / РГГУ)

«Diachronic typology of systems of personal marking in African languages».

17.30 – 18. 00 Paper 7: Georgy Moroz (Moscow State University (Lomonosov University))

«Type-specific and language-specific morphological features of the compound numerals in Caucasian languages».

15 November, 2012, Thursday

Diachronical syntax and clitic studies, I

10. 00-10.30 Paper 8: Andrey Sideltsev (Institute of Linguistics, RAS) 

«Verb fronting or NP focus movement in Hittite?».

10.30-11.00 Paper 9: Natalya Pimenova(SMSUH, Moscow)

«Is thâr a particle in Old Saxon and Old High German relative clauses? ».

10 minutes break

Diachronical syntax and clitic studies,II

11.10-11:40 Paper 10: Lyudmila Khokhlova (Institute for Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University (Lomonosov University))

«Pronominal аffixes in the history of Western Punjabi».

11.40-12.10 Paper 11: Marfa Tolstaya (Institute of Slavic Studies, RAS)

«On the description of Carpatian Ukrainian systems of inflected enclitics».

12.10-12.40 Paper 12: Anton Zimmerling (SMSUH, Moscow/Russian state university for the humanities)

«Getting the Old Czech word order system: clitics, movement and Barrier Rules».

12.40-13.40 Lunch

Case and the structure of NP, I

13.40.-14.10. Paper 13: Alena Aksenova (Moscow State University (Lomonosov University)) and  Pavel Koval (Moscow State University (Lomonosov University))

«Focus marker gena and cliticization of adnominal modifiers in Mishar».

14.10-14.40: Paper 14: Oleg Belyaev (Institute of Linguistics, RAS / SMSUH, Moscow)

«Ossetic as a language with a two-case system».

Miscellanious issues of linguistic typology, II

14.40-15.20 Paper 15: Anastasia Ivanova (Moscow State University (Lomonosov University))

«Relative clauses in Mishar».

15.20 -15.50 Paper 16: Dmitry Privoznov (Moscow State University (Lomonosov University))

«On one polysemous verbal marker in Mishar».

16 November, 2012, Friday

10.30-11.20 PLENARY TALK 4:

VLADIMIR ALPATOV (Institute of Linguistics, RAS)

«Case variation in Japanese».

Case and the structure of NP, II

11.20-11.50 Paper 17: Ekaterina Lyutikova (Moscow State University (Lomonosov University))

«Case and NP structure: Differential object marking in Mishar».

11.50-12.20 Доклад 18: Xenia Ershova (ABBYY)

«Suspended affixation in Adyghe».

10 minutes break

12.30-13.20 PLENARY TALK 5:

YURI LANDER (National Research University “High School of Economics”)

«Adnominal possessives and the notion of the prototype of a construction».

13.20-13.50 Paper 19: Sergey Say(Institute for Linguistic Studies, RAS)  and Maria Ovsyannikova (Institute for Linguistic Studies, RAS)

«Bashkir genitive possessors from a taxonomic perspective of possessive constructions».

13.50 – 15.00 Lunch

Argument structure versus syntactic structure

15.00-15.30 Paper 20: Andrey Shluinsky (Institute of Linguistics, RAS)

«A typology of morphosyntactic techniques of ‘unifying events’».

15.30 -16.00. Paper 21: Natalya Stoynova (Institute of the Russian Language)

«’Again’-expressions and argument structure».

Morphosyntax and information structure

16.00- 16. 30 Paper 22: Н.В. Сердобольская (Russian state university for the humanities / SMSUH, Moscow)

«Information structure at odds with discourse factors: evidence from Finno-Ugric differential object marking».

16.30-17.00 Paper 23: Elizaveta Kushnir (Institute of Linguistics, RAS)

«Topicalized Locatives and Datives in Yowle (Southern Mande)».

17.00 Closing of the conference.


Whoever doesn’t live cannot survive here on Earth

November 1, 2012

Whoever doesn’t live cannot survive. Trivial. Possibly a quotation from a textbook in logic or linguistic analysis  – an exercise for finding semantic presuppositions etc. Whoever doesn’t live in poetry cannot survive on Earth? Bold and controversial. Probably a quotation from a strange or great author who could survive. Indeed, it is a quotation from a great author – Halldór Kiljan Laxness. On the picture below he is with his wife Auður Sveinsdóttir Laxness who sadly passed away on Monday, October 29. She was 94.