Springe direkt zu Inhalt


Workshop at Freie Universität Berlin

Date: 22nd – 24th May 2014   

Organizers: Tanja Ackermann, Horst Simon & Christian Zimmer (FU Berlin)    

Invited Speakers: Peter Gallmann (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena), Alan Scott (University of Nottingham)  

Contact: histling@zedat.fu-berlin.de     

Description of the Workshop 

An obvious general tendency in many Germanic languages is gradual deflection everywhere in the grammatical system. For instance, we can observe a reduction in the number of cases; in this context it has often been predicted that the complete loss of the genitive is imminent. Indeed, a drastic decrease in the number of syntactic functions of the genitive has occurred. At the same time, in nearly all Germanic languages the genitive seems to be relatively stable morphologically. In fact, in some languages the genitive is the only case still overtly marked.

In this workshop we intend to focus on the dynamics of one specific cell in morphological paradigms: how is it filled (paradigmatic relations, allomorphy)? And what functions does it fulfill?

We aim to explore crosslinguistic similarities and dissimilarities regarding the synchrony and diachrony of genitives and the reasons behind them. Comparing the developments of this particular cell allows us to better understand the factors that determine linguistic variation.  

Topics to be explored include:  

  • Morphological or syntactic variation
  • The interplay of paradigmatic and syntagmatic variation
  • Constructions that compete(d) with the genitive
  • The rise of new genitive constructions
  • The relevance of genitives for the typological profile of Germanic languages
  • Explanations for the radical loss of syntactic functions
  • The interplay of phonological change and morphological/syntactic change
  • Phonologically determined allomorphy
  • The relevance of redundancy in morphological coding
  • The semantics of the genitive
  • The specific behaviour of proper names in genitive phrases
  • The status of –s (inflection vs. clitic)
  • Graphematical realisations of the genitive (i.e. apostrophes…)
  • Language norms and language criticism

Papers on other suitable topics are also welcome.