CRISSP is proud to present the twelfth instalment of the Brussels Conference on Generative Linguistics (BCGL), devoted to suppletion, allomorphy, and syncretism.
BCGL 12: Suppletion, allomorphy, and syncretism
Brussels, December 16-17, 2019.
We are pleased to announce that the following invited speakers have agreed to give a talk at BCGL 12:
Suppletion is a form of morphological irregularity whereby a change in a grammatical category triggers a change in word form, with a diﬀerent (suppletive) root substituting for the normal one (e.g. in the past tense of go, the irregular form went replaces the regular goed). Allomorphy is (in a certain sense) the mirror image of suppletion, namely a change in the form of an aﬃx that is triggered by the presence of a particular type of root (e.g with the root ox the irregular plural morpheme –en replaces the regular form –s). Both suppletion and allomorphy raise the question of how to get the correct distribution of forms: how to pair the correct root with the correct allomorph, and how to correctly restrict the occurrence of the suppletive roots. If all lexical insertion is done at terminal nodes, then suppletion and allomorphy point to some ‘action at a distance’: a head α inﬂuences the realisation of another head β (e.g. the V and the T node in the case of go + pst, the N and the Num node in the case of ox + pl). This raises the question of locality: how far apart can α and β be? A range of diﬀerent views has been proposed in the literature, such as the claim that α and β are local if no overt node intervenes (Embick, 2010; Calabrese, 2015), if they form a span (Abels & Muriungi, 2008; Svenonius, 2016; Merchant, 2015; Haugen & Siddiqi, 2016), if they belong to the same phase (Moskal, 2013a; Embick, 2010; Moskal, 2015), if α is accessible to β (Moskal, 2013b; Moskal & Smith, 2016), if no XP or Xn (n > 0) intervenes (Bobaljik 2012 and Bobaljik & Harley 2017 respectively), if no γ intervenes (Siegel, 1978; Allen, 1978; Embick, 2003; Bobaljik, 2012; Kilbourn-Ceron et al., 2016), or if they form a constituent (Caha, 2017a; De Clercq & Vanden Wyngaerd, 2017).
Syncretism is the identity of forms across diﬀerent (but related) grammatical categories (e.g. the pronoun you is both 2sg and 2pl). Syncretism is widely believed to be informative about the underlying grammatical system, across a variety of approaches, whether typological (Haspelmath, 2003), formal (Caha, 2009; Bobaljik & Sauerland, 2013), or paradigm-based (McCreight & Chvany, 1991; Plank, 1991; Johnston, 1996; Wiese, 2008). Syncretism may accordingly be used to structure paradigms in such a way that syncretic cells are always adjacent, i.e. avoiding ABA patterns. Caha’s (2009) study of *ABA patterns in Case marking paradigms furthermore interprets syncretism in terms of structural containment: if the structure of the more complex Case suﬃxes properly contains that of the less complex ones, then *ABA follows. The study of syncretism in morphology in this approach translates into a study of underlying structural relationships.
The submission deadline for abstracts is September 15, 2019.