This weekend the University of Toronto is hosting "The End of Argument Structure?" Workshop. Invited speakers included Mark Baker, Heidi Harley, Lisa Travis and Grant Armstrong. The abstract booklet is available here. The workshop description is below. The workshop has been organized by María Cristina Cuervo and Yves Roberge.
This workshop, to be held on 1‐2 October, 2010, will be an opportunity to explore current issues and re‐assess generally accepted premises on the relationship between lexical meaning and the morphosyntax of sentences. A central question in the study of language concerns the mechanisms by which the participants in an event described by a sentence come to occupy their positions in the structure and acquire their interpretation. A long‐standing approach is based on the assumption that it is the lexical meaning of a verb that determines, albeit indirectly, the basic properties of sentence structure at the level of verbal meaning, including asymmetric relations, thematic roles, case, and agreement. An alternative approach claims that the syntax itself greatly restricts possible verbal meanings on the basis of the legitimate relations that can exist between syntactic heads, complements, and specifiers.
If we think that all systematic aspects of verbal meanings (licensing of external argument, number and type of ‘obligatory’ and extra arguments, agentivity, causativity, aksionsart, etc.) are dependent on configurational properties, what is left for lexical entries? Do generalizations such as the
UTAH and other prominence hierarchies need to be stated explicitly, or are they derived from more general principles of syntactic operations (and structures) and semantic compositionality? What is left unexplained by syntax‐driven approaches?
In order to promote an open exchange of ideas, we have in mind a real workshop format rather than a regular conference around themes that will be determined in consultation with the invited participants, based on their contributions. A small number of papers will be selected from open submissions.
Mark Baker (Rutgers University)
Heidi Harley (University of Arizona)
Lisa Travis (McGill University)
Invited student participant:
Grant Armstrong (Georgetown University)