Call for Papers

Throughout the history of generative grammar, there have been various ways of implementing locality effects, for example through Transformational Cycles (Chomsky 1965; Kayne 1969) or Barriers (Chomsky 1986). Phase Theory (Uriagereka 1999; Chomsky 2000, 2001) constitutes the most recent development in this line of thinking. It is often argued that there exist discrete structural domains in natural language that exhibit a degree of syntactic, semantic, and phonological independence from their surrounding linguistic environment. Phase Theory offers a tool for understanding such domains. However, since the inception of phases, there have been many different proposals about the specific formalization of this concept, along with much debate about the extent to which phases can be evidenced empirically (and indeed whether phases exist at all). The aim of this workshop is to discuss the empirical validity and theoretical specifics of Phase Theory. The questions and issues this workshop aims to address, include, but are not limited to the following:

  • What are the empirical diagnostics for phases and how reliable are these? Common diagnostics for phases are:
    • (related to the narrow syntax) successive-cyclic movement (islands), agreement, binding conditions, quantifier scope, and parasitic gaps (Fox 1998; Nissenbaum 1998; Legate 2003);
    • (related to the PF-interface) ellipsis (Holmberg 1999, 2001; Gengel 2007, 2008), and prosodic rule application (Sato 2009);
    • (related to the LF-interface) idiomatic expressions (Svenonius 2005; Harwood & Temmerman 2015; Kim 2015).
  • What is the definition of a phase? Do phases correspond to sub-numerations (Chomsky 2000, 2001), spell-out domains and/or workspaces (Uriagereka 1999)? Or do they need to be defined in terms of e.g. Prolific Domains (Grohmann 2003), Layered Derivations (Zwart 2009), or Cyclic Linearization (Fox & Pesetsky 2003, 2005)? Related questions are: What is the timing of spell-out and what exactly is spelled out (Chomsky 2000, 2001; Fox & Pesetsky 2003, 2005; Richards 2011; Bošković 2014)?
  • What does the inventory of phases look like: CP, vP, DP, PP, …? Is the size of a phase fixed? Are phases rigid and absolute or context-sensitive (cf. Bošković (2013, 2014), Wurmbrand (2013) and Harwood (2015) for dynamic phases, Den Dikken (2007) for phase extension, and Gallego (2010) for phase sliding)?
  • To what extent do phases at one interface (necessarily) coincide with phases at another interface (Marušič 2005; d’Alessandro & Scheer 2015)?

Invited speakers

Abstract guidelines

Abstracts should be anonymous, and submissions are limited to 2 per author, at least one of which must be co-authored. They must not exceed two pages, including data, references and diagrams. The font should be at least 11-point, with one-inch margins. They should be submitted as pdf-documents through EasyChair:

Important dates

  • First call for papers: May 3, 2016.
  • Second call for papers: August 1, 2016.
  • Abstract submission deadline: September 1, 2016.
  • Notification of acceptance: October 1, 2016.
  • Conference: December 13-14, 2016.

Conference location

CRISSP – KU Leuven Brussels Campus
Warmoesberg 26
1000 Brussels

Organising committee

  • Jeroen van Craenenbroeck
  • Will Harwood
  • Dany Jaspers
  • Cora Pots
  • Koen Roelandt
  • Jolijn Sonnaert
  • Tanja Temmerman
  • Guido Vanden Wyngaerd

Scientific committee

  • William Harwood, KU Leuven
  • Tanja Temmerman, KU Leuven
  • Jeroen Van Craenenbroeck, KU Leuven
  • Dany Jaspers, KU Leuven
  • Guido Vanden Wyngaerd, KU Leuven
  • Anne Breitbarth, U Gent
  • Liliane Haegeman, U Gent
  • Joachim Sabel, UCL
  • Marjo van Koppen, U Utrecht


  • Bošković, Željko. 2013. Phases beyond clauses. In Nominal constructions in Slavic and beyond, eds. Lilia Schürcks, Anastasia Giannakidou, Urtzi Etxeberria, and Peter Kosta. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Bošković, Željko. 2014. Now I’m a phase, now I’m not a phase: on the variability of phases with extraction and ellipsis. Linguistic Inquiry 45: 27–89.
  • Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Chomsky, Noam. 1986. Barriers. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Chomsky, Noam. 2000. Minimalist inquiries: the framework. In Step by step: essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik, eds. Roger Martin, David Michaels, and Juan Uriagereka, 89–155. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Chomsky, Noam. 2001. Derivation by phase. In Ken Hale: A life in language, ed. Michael Kenstowicz, 1–52. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • d’Alessandro, Roberta, and Tobias Scheer. 2015. Modular PIC. Linguistic Inquiry 46: 593–624.
  • den Dikken, Marcel. 2007. Phase extension: contours of a theory of the role of head movement in phrasal extraction. Theoretical Linguistics 33: 1–41.
  • Fox, Danny. 1998. Economy and Semantic Interpretation. MIT dissertation.
  • Fox, Danny, and David Pesetsky. 2003. Cyclic linearization and the typology of movement. Ms, MIT.
  • Fox, Danny, and David Pesetsky. 2005. Cyclic linearization of syntactic structure. Theoretical Linguistics 31: 1–45.
  • Gallego, Ángel. 2010. Phase theory. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Gengel, Kirsten. 2007. Phases and ellipsis. In North East Linguistic Society (NELS), eds. Emily Elfner and Martin Walkow. Vol. 37. Amherst: GLSA: University of Massachusetts.
  • Gengel, Kirsten. 2008. Phases and ellipsis. Linguistic Analysis 35: 21–42.
  • Grohmann, K., 2003. Prolific Domains: on the anti-locality of movement dependencies. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Harwood, William. 2015. Being Progressive is Just a Phase: Celebrating the uniqueness of progressive aspect under a 2015 phase-based analysis. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 33. 523–73.
  • Harwood, William, and Tanja Temmerman. 2015. Pushing the boundaries: Idioms and phases in Dutch dialects and English. Ms, KU Leuven & Université Saint-Louis.
  • Holmberg, Anders. 1999. Yes and no in Finnish: ellipsis and cyclic spell-out. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics (MITWPL) 33: 83–110.
  • Holmberg, Anders. 2001. The syntax of yes and no in Finnish. Studia Linguistica 55: 140–174.
  • Kayne, Richard. 1969. The transformational cycle in French syntax. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.
  • Kim, Kyumin. Phase based account of idioms and its consequences. Linguistic Research 32. 631-670.
  • Legate, Julie Anne. 2003. Some interface properties of the phase. Linguistic Inquiry 34: 506–515.
  • Marušič, Franc. 2005. On non-simultaneous phases. Ph.D. dissertation, SUNY, Stony Brook.
  • Nissenbaum, Jon. 1998. Movement and Derived Predicates: Evidence from Parasitic Gaps. In MITWPL #25 The Interpretive Tract, Uli Sauerland & Orin Percus (eds). Cambridge, Mass.: MITWPL.
  • Richards, Marc. 2011. Deriving the edge: what’s in a phase? Syntax 14(1): 74–95.
  • Sato, Yosuke. 2009. Spelling-out prosodic domains: A multiple spell-out account. In: Kleanthes Grohmann (ed.) Interphases: Phase-theoretic investigations of linguistic interfaces. 234-259. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Svenonius, Peter. 2005. Extending the extension condition to discontinuous idioms. Linguistic Variation Yearbook 5: 227–263.
  • Uriagereka, Juan. 1999. Multiple spell-out. In Working Minimalism, eds. S. D. Epstein & N. Hornstein, 109-135. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Wurmbrand, Susi. 2013. QR and selection: covert evidence for phasehood. In North Eastern Linguistics Society (NELS) 42, eds. Stefan Keine and Shayne Sloggett, 277–290. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, GLSA.
  • Zwart, Jan-Wouter. 2009. Prospects for top-down derivation. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 8: 161–187.