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Workshop description

The relationship between questions and disjunctions has already been the subject of semantic investigation for many years, in response to the evident parallelisms that interrogatives and sentences coordinated by disjunction display on an interpretive level. Still unclear, however, is the extent to which these common interpretative properties overlap. Even more significant in this respect are the cross-linguistic syntactic and morphological correspondences between questions and disjunctions: many languages resort to the same morpheme both as a disjunction and as a question particle; in other languages, questions can be formed by means of a disjunctive structure. In order to capture the interpretive components that are in fact characteristics of both constructions, it is essential to explore the formal variation not only within a language, but also cross-linguistically. At the same time, the semantic analysis can help us understand the different typological patterns and syntactic constructions: for example, with respect to the question of why many languages exhibit distributional parallelisms between disjunction, question particles and focus particles, or, likewise, in regard to the phenomenon whereby, cross-linguistically, only certain types of question feature a disjunctive particle or morphology.

The aim of this International Workshop, jointly organized by four linguistic departments within the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies of the University of Vienna, is to bring together different views on the connections between questions and disjunctions, and, therefore, to yield a novel perspective on the various problems within the single discipline. Central is the question of which (morpho-)syntactic and semantic connections exist between these two universally available linguistic constructions – questions and disjunctive coordinations. It will also be discussed how these constructions are realized typologically, hence cross-linguistically, and which correlations between the single components of both constructions can be found within a single language and in typological distribution. Issues and hypotheses from all three linguistic areas – syntax, semantics and typology – will therefore be covered in this workshop.

Mag. Jakob Steixner
Institut für Germanistik
Universität Wien
Universitätsring 1
1010 Wien

T: +43-1-4277-42163
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0