About the conference

Slavic relative constructions and relativisation strategies are quite diverse from both an areal and a diachronic perspective. The diversity concerns a number of phenomena, such as: origin of the relative marker (anaphoric pronoun vs. indefinite/interrogative pronoun), additional marking of the relative pronoun with že or to, existence and distribution of indeclinable relative markers like Slov. ki, Pol. co, availability of and conditions on resumption, types of relative constructions (relative clause precedes matrix clause or vice verse, relative clause comprises internal nucleus), etc. Generally speaking, the variation observed in older stages has been reduced and reorganized in different ways, leading to less diverse systems or to functional differentiation. In some regards the Slavic languages show a rather uniform development, e.g. the almost total elimination of preceding relative clauses with an internal nucleus. In other respects, the diachronic changes led to areal patterns, e.g. the implementation of relative *kъterь-jь in North Slavic and Slovene. Some of the developments may be due to internal change, while others are most likely the outcome of the impact of external factors such as language contact and standardisation processes.

The workshop intends to shed light on both the internal and external factors that have been at work in shaping the patterns of relative constructions in the modern standard languages as well as in non-standard varieties and dialects. We are particularly interested in the influence of language contact on the emergence of contemporary relativisation strategies in the Central European micro-area comprising South and West Slavic with neighboring Romance and Germanic.

Topics include, but are not restricted to, contact influences and areal patterns concerning:

  • Relativisation strategies (relative clauses, participle constructions),
  • Relative clauses and NP-determination (referential status, discourse status),
  • Formal and functional development of relativisation markers and strategies,
  • Functional differentiation within the system of relativisation markers and strategies,
  • Metalinguistic descriptions and their (possible) contribution to restricting diachronic variation,
  • Impact of discourse tradition and genre on the choice of relativisation markers.

Conference: October 28–29, 2016

Venue: University of Zurich (Switzerland)