SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Workshop on Information Structure in Endangered Languages

ISEL Workshop
Various speakers

Date: 8 May 2015Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 9 May 2015Time: 1:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102 (8 May) 4429 (9 May)

Type of Event: Conference

Registration for the workshop will open at 9:00 AM on 8 May 2015 outside room B102. The price of registration is £10 (£5 concessions). Lunch on 8 May and refreshments on both days are included in the price of registration.

The first Workshop on Information Structure in Endangered Languages will provide a venue for researchers working on the description and analysis of information structure in under-described and endangered languages to present their research and collaborate on the development of new methodologies for field-based research.

Plenary speaker

The plenary speaker for the workshop is: Dr Dejan Matic, MPI Psycholinguistics

Conference theme

Information structure (IS) is a level of sentence grammar at which the information contained in a sentence is 'packaged' to suit the needs of the discourse. Research on IS in endangered languages presents some unique challenges, as the necessary data (text collections, large-scale corpora of spoken language) typically do not exist, so researchers are compelled to develop and work with much smaller datasets than are available for large well-studied languages. Despite these limitations, research on these languages has led to significant theoretical and methodological advances in the field of IS.

Papers to be presented at the workshop address pragmatic, semantic, morphosyntactic and prosodic aspects of the expression of IS in endangered languages from a variety of theoretical perspectives. They also include reference to new methodologies for field-based research. Please see the workshop schedule for details of the papers to be presented.


8 May 2015, Room B102
Session 1 - Chair: Eva Schultze-Berndt
09.45Comparative evidence in the analysis of additive focus marking
Lutz Marten (SOAS, University of London)
10.15How it all became so kòm-plicated: a comparison of the functional and structural profile of kòm in Juǀ’hoan and ǂKx’aoǁ’ae
Lee J. Pratchett (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
10.45Multiple focus structures in two Siberian languages
Dejan Matic (MPI Psycholinguistics) & Irina Nikolaeva (SOAS, University of London)
11.45Plenary Talk - Chair: Irina Nikolaeva
Discourse expectations and common ground
Dejan Matic (MPI Psycholinguistics)
Session 2 Chair: Candide Simard
14.00Methods for investigating a conditional exponent of topicality in small corpora
Oliver Bond (University of Surrey), Kristine A. Hildebrandt (SIUE) & Dubi Nanda Dhakal (Tribhuvan University)
14.30The topic marking function of less grammaticalized definite determiners
Doris Gerland (Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf)
15.00A case of topical illusion
Eva Schultze-Berndt (The University of Manchester)
Session 3 Chair: Oliver Bond
16.00Typology of possessor prominence marking strategies
Sandy Ritchie (SOAS, University of London)
16.30Topics: what does prosody have to say?
Candide Simard (SOAS, University of London) & Eva Schultze-Berndt (The University of Manchester)
17.00Correlation between word order and intonation in three verb-initial Formosan languages
Anastasia Karlsson (Lund University), Arthur Holmer (Lund University), Jan-Olof Svantesson (Lund University) & David House (KTH Stockholm)
18.30Workshop dinner
9 May 2015, Room 4429
Session 4 - Chair: Lutz Marten
09.30Information structure in Causcasian Urum: The effect of givenness on word order
Stefanie Böhm (Bielefeld University)
10.00Word order and information structure in Rangi
Hannah Gibson (SOAS, University of London) & Oliver Stegen (SIL)
10.30Information structure in Gela: with special attention to word order variation
Claudia Wegener (Bielefeld University) & Candide Simard (SOAS, University of London)
Session 5 - Chair: Hannah Gibson
11.30VO-OV alternations in North Sami
Kristine Bentzen (University of Tromsø)
12.00Round table discussion

Organiser and contact:

Sandy Ritchie,