Call for Papers SLE Workshop: ‘The Syntax and Semantics of Numerals’

Numerals raise a host of linguistic issues of a syntactic, morphological, and semantic nature. From a syntactic point of view, they sit on the divide between lexical and functional categories, and occupy a fixed position in the extended nominal projection. Morphologically, they often constitute a productive and fairly transparent category, but their categorial status remains under discussion: do they constitute a word class of their own, or are they nominal or adjectival in nature? Semantically, numerals are clearly akin to quantification in general, but at the same time they can differ from regular quantifiers in being more specific or precise in their denotation.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers working on the (morpho)syntax and semantics of numerals and numerical expressions. It will focus on questions including, but not limited to, the following:

The (morpho)syntax of numerals and numerical expressions

Contributions on the syntax of numerals may relate to the following research questions:

  • Are simplex numerals heads or phrases?
  • Are numerals lexical or functional items?
  • What is the category of numerals (cf. Stavrou & Terzi 2008)? Are they a class of their own or are they nouns or adjectives (Corbett 1978)?
  • What is the syntactic structure of complex numerals (cf. Stavrou & Terzi 2008)?
  • What is the syntactic structure of ordinals?
  • What is the syntax of suppletion amongst ordinals (Barbiers 2007)?
  • What is the syntactic status of the numeral one (Barbiers 2007, Borer 2005)?
  • Which silent elements can be contained in numerical expressions (cf. Kayne 2005)?
  • Are ordinals derived from cardinals?
  • Do paucals have the same internal syntax as higher numbers?
  • What is the syntax of vague numerical expressions (cf. Corver 2005)?
  • Does the syntax of numerals occurring in the DP differ from the syntax of numerals used when counting items?
  • What is the syntax of floating numeral quantifiers? (Miyagawa and Arikawa 2007)
  • Is there a relation between ordinals and superlativity?
  • Are degree expressions derived from numerals (cf. Corver 1997)?

The semantics of numerals and numerical expressions

  • What is the semantics of ‘vague’ or modified numerical expressions, such as more than n, at least n, fewer than n? Which part of their meaning follows from their semantics, and which part from general pragmatic principles, such as implicature? (Fox and Hackl 2006, Cummins, Sauerland and Solt 2012, Geurts and Nouwen 2007)
  • What is the semantics of prepositional numerals, like around ten and between ten and thirty? (Corver and Zwarts 2006)
  • What is the semantic difference -if any- between numerals and quantifiers like some, all or both?
  • Is there a semantic relation between ordinals and superlativity?

How to submit your abstract

Please submit your final abstract by the 15th of January 2015, through Easychair (

 These are the requirements:

  •  The abstract should be anonymous
  • It should contain between 400 and 500 words (exclusive of references)
  • It must state:
    • Research questions
    • Approach
    • Method
    • Data
    • (Expected) results

Please note that you are only allowed to present one single-authored paper at SLE 2015. In addition, you may either have a joint paper (but not as a first author) or be a discussant in a workshop. Two co-authored papers are also allowed. The abstracts will be reviewed by the SLE 2015 scientific committee, as well as by the workshop convenors.

All workshop participants pay the conference fee that corresponds to their category – though everybody is invited to become a member and get a reduction. See and No reduction for one-day participation is possible.

The SLE nor CRISSP have funds for inviting (keynote) speakers within the framework of a workshop. Workshop speakers pay the same conference fee as regular participants.

 If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


  • Barbiers, S. (2007) Indefinite numerals ONE and MANY and the cause of ordinal suppletion. Lingua: 117 (5), 859-880.
  • Borer, H. (2005) In Name Only. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Corbett, G. G. (1978) Problems in the syntax of Slavonic numerals. The Slavonic and East European Review 56:1.
  • Corver, N. (1997) The internal syntax of the Dutch extended adjectival projection. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 15, 289-368.
  • Corver, N. (2005) Approximative of zo as a diagnostic tool. In: Broekhuis, H. et al. (eds.) Organizing grammar. Linguistic studies in honor of Henk van Riemsdijk. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 74-82.
  • Corver, N. and J. Zwarts (2006) Prepositions numerals. Lingua 116:6, 811-835.
  • Cummins, C., U. Sauerland and S. Solt (2012) Granularity and scalar implicature in numerical expressions. Linguistics and Philosophy 35:2,105-169.
  • Fox, D. and M. Hackl (2006) The universal density of measurement. Linguistics and Philosophy 29, 537-586.
  • Geurts, B. and R. Nouwen (2007) At least et al.: the semantics of scalar modifiers. Language 83:3, 533-559.
  • Kayne, R. (2005) Silence and Movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Miyagawa, S. and K. Arikawa (2007) Locality in syntax and floating numeral quantifiers. Linguistic Inquiry 38:4, 645-670.
  • Stavrou, M. & A. Terzi (2008) Cardinal numerals and other numerical expressions. Talk presented at GLOW 2008. Workshop on DP types and Feature Syntax, University of Newcastle. March 25, 2008.