The alphabet of universal grammar

Thu 4 - Fri 5 Jul 2019, 09:00 - 17:00

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

Event ended

Features—atomic units of contrast—are the alphabet of natural language. They predate the Cognitive Revolution and are central to Generative Linguistics, yet there is a hole in current understanding. Unlike phonology, syntax has no articulatory tract in which to ground its features. Consequently, the algorithms that build sentences are better researched than the atoms these algorithms operate over. Recently, however, morphology, semantics, typology, and psycholinguistics have sharpened syntax sufficiently for its foundational features to come into focus. Our conference aims to elucidate the featural alphabet of human syntax and to define a programme of enquiry into this underexplored domain.

Professor Daniel Harbour, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Luisa Martí
, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Hazel Pearson
, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Coppe van Urk
, Queen Mary University of London

Speakers include:
Dr Diogo Almeida, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE
Dr Ana Arregui, University of Massachusetts, USA
Professor Mark Baker, Rutgers University, USA
Dr Theresa Biberauer, University of Cambridge
Dr Patricia Cabredo-Hofherr, French National Centre for Scientific Research, France
Professor Greville Corbett, University of Surrey
Dr Jenny Culbertson, University of Edinburgh
Dr Amy Rose Deal, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Dr Peter Klecha, Swarthmore College, USA
Professor Angelika Kratzer, University of Massachusetts, USA
Dr Mora Maldonado, University of Edinburgh
Professor Lisa Matthewson, University of British Columbia, Canada
Professor Ora Matushansky, French National Centre for Scientific Research, France
Professor Peter Svenonius, University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
Professor Martina Wiltschko, University of British Columbia, Canada
Dr Yasutada Sudo, University College London
Dr Maria Luisa Zubizarreta, University of Southern California, USA

A draft programme is available.  

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Standard Admission: £75 both days, £40 one day. Includes lunch and refreshments 
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