The 13th International Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA
June 2-5, 2011

Preliminary program

Thursday, June 2, 2011
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Workshop on using annotated corpora for diachronic research
(Details here)
6:30 p.m. Wine reception
7:30 - 8:30 p.m. Keynote address: David Lightfoot (Georgetown University)
Historical linguistics: levels of explanation

Friday, June 3, 2011
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Plenary address: Ana Maria Martins (University of Lisbon)
Nominal negative inversion in Romance
10:00 a.m. Coffee break
10:20 a.m. Anton Karl Ingason, Einar Freyr Sigurðsson and Joel C. Wallenberg (University of Iceland)
Distinguishing change and stability: a quantitative study of Icelandic oblique subjects
11:00 a.m. Silvia Cavalcante (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and Anthony Kroch (University of Pennsylvania)
Oblique subjects and Nominative objects: SE-constructions in the history of Portuguese revisited
11:40 a.m. Theresa Biberauer (University of Cambridge, Stellenbosch University) and Ans Van Kemenade (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)
Subject positions and information-structural diversification in the history of English
12:20 p.m. Eric Fuss (University of Leipzig)
The rise and fall of null subjects: Implications for the theory of pro-drop
1:00 p.m. First poster session (with catered lunch):
Katalin E. Kiss (Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy)
  From Proto-Hungarian SOV to Old Hungarian TopFocVSO
Carola Trips (University of Mannheim) and Achim Stein (University of Stuttgart)
  Left-dislocation and pragmatic functions in Old French and Middle English: Evidence for language contact?
Alexandra Fiéis and Maria Lobo (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
  Gerund clauses in the diachrony of Portuguese: C-T features and information structure
Maria Clara Paixão De Sousa (Universidade de São Paulo)
  Topics, Subjects and Agents in Classical and Brazilian Portuguese: Hypothesis for a Grammatical Change
Eric Mathieu (University of Ottawa)
  The historical development of French wh in situ
Bernat Bardagil Mas (UQÁM)
  Verb-second phenomena in Old French: post-verbal subject position and pre-verbal topics
2:30 p.m. Edith Aldridge (University of Washington)
The Syntactic Formation of the Chinese Anaphor ZIJI
3:10 p.m. Remus Gergel (Universität Tübingen)
Again: On the Trajectory of Structural Visibility
3:50 p.m. George Walkden (University of Cambridge)
Tying up syntactic loose ends: hwaet/huat-clauses in Old English and Old Saxon
4:30 p.m. Aaron Ecay (University of Pennsylvania)
Stratified sampling biases models towards nonlinearity: the case of Kallel (2007)
5:10 p.m. Business meeting and coffee break
Venues for future meetings of DIGS will be decided, confirmed and/or announced. Also, publication plans for conference papers, including posters, will be discussed.
6:15-7:15 p.m. Plenary address: Enoch Aboh (University of Amsterdam)
Contact, Change and Acquisition: A view from hybrid grammars

Saturday, June 4, 2011
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Plenary address: Caroline Heycock (University of Edinburgh)
Tailing off: Tracing the late stages of a syntactic change in Faroese
10:00 a.m. Coffee break
10:20 a.m. Maia Duguine (University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), University of Nantes) and Aritz Irurtzun (University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU))
Cues of Change in the Wh-parameter: Evidence from Basque
11:00 a.m. Ailis Cournane (University of Toronto)
Innovative Acquisition: experimenting with divergence from the input
11:40 a.m. Juanito Avelar and Charlotte Galves (University of Campinas)
From European to Brazilian Portuguese: a parameter network approach
12:20 p.m. Paola Crisma (Università di Trieste)
The rise of the ‘indefinite article’ in English
1:00 p.m. Second poster session (with catered lunch):
Elizabeth Cowper (University of Toronto) and Daniel Hall (Saint Mary's University)
  From aspect to voice: The descent of the passive light verb in English
Katerina Chatzopoulou and Anastasia Giannakidou (University of Chicago)
  Negator selection in Attic Greek: (non)veridicality and (non)assertion
Emilienne Ngangoum (Utrecht Institute of Linguistics)
  Rethinking the Jespersen Cycle from a Bantu Perspective.
Marion Elenbaas (Leiden University)
  The diachrony of English light verbs
Montserrat Batllori (Universitat de Girona)
  Mesoclitic Romance futures and conditionals vs. participle preposing
2:30 p.m. Alexandra Simonenko (McGill University) and Paul Hirschbühler (University of Ottawa)
Changes in clitic position in Old French V1 clauses: V movement vs tense dependency?
3:10 p.m. Neil Ashton (Cornell University)
Tocharian object clitics and the derivation of SOV
3:50 p.m. Susan Pintzuk and Ann Taylor (University of York)
The independence of information status effects and the syntactic change from OV to VO in the history of English and Icelandic
4:30 p.m. Caitlin Light (University of Pennsylvania) and Joel Wallenberg (University of Iceland)
On the use of passives across Germanic
5:10 p.m. Coffee break
5:30-6:30 p.m. Plenary address: Thomas McFadden (University of Tromsø)
The Old English distribution and subsequent loss of preverbal ge-
7:00 p.m. DiGS Banquet

Sunday, June 5, 2011
8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Laurie Zaring (Luther College)
On the Nature of Embedded V2 in Old French
9:40 a.m. Aaron Ecay and Caitlin Light (University of Pennsylvania)
Analyzing V2 triggers in historical English
10:20 a.m. Marie Labelle (Universite du Quebec a Montreal) and Paul Hirschbühler (University of Ottawa)
Topic and Focus in Old French V1 and V2 structures
11:00 a.m. Gabriela Alboiu (York University) and Virginia Hill (University of New Brunswick - Saint John)
A Criterial Analysis of V-movement in the Moldavian Chronicles
11:40 a.m. Third poster session (with catered lunch):
Caitlin Keenan (Harvard University)
  Greenberg Revisited: Diachronic development of article systems and the structure of DP
Adriana Cardoso (Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa / Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa)
  Discontinuous noun phrases and remnant-internal relativization in the diachrony of Portuguese
Chiara Gianollo (Universität Konstanz)
  How did genitives become datives in Greek?
Anton Karl Ingason (University of Iceland)
  A Death Rattle Hypothesis for minority rules. Beyond conceptual neatness in the weights vs. imperfections debate
Hiroyuki Nawata (Shimane University)
  Feature Inheritance as a Reflex of Diachronic Change: Evidence from Transitive Expletive Constructions in the History of English
Christopher Sapp (University of Mississippi)
  A Relative Pronoun in Old Norse?
1:10 p.m. Lobke Aelbrecht (Ghent University) and Marcel Den Dikken (CUNY Graduate Center)
Grammaticalization in the Syntax of Preposition Doubling in Flemish Dialects
1:50 p.m. Chris Reintges (CNRS & University Paris 7)
The syntax of accelerated grammaticalization
2:30 p.m. David Willis (University of Cambridge)
Cyclic change in the distribution of indefinites in negative polarity environments
3:10 p.m. David Erschler (Tübinger Zentrum für Linguistik (SFB 833))
On Development of NegP in Ossetic
3:50 p.m. Coffee break
4:00 p.m. Plenary address: Ian Roberts (Cambridge University)
Towards a parameter hierarchy for verb-movement: diachronic considerations
5:00 p.m. End of DiGS 13

Call for papers (expired)

Contact us

For more information on the conference and/or the workshop, please contact the organizers at

DiGS 13 Sponsors:

Department of Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania
School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
US National Science Foundation