Confs: Syntax, Historical Linguistics, Language Acquisition/Italy

Understanding Pro-drop: A Synchronic and Diachronic Perspective

Date: 19-Jun-2014 – 21-Jun-2014
Location: Trento, Italy
Contact: Federica Cognola
Contact Email:
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Syntax

Meeting Description:

This conference aims at advancing  our understanding of null-subject languages, in particular of partial pro-drop languages, by bringing together researchers working on empirical (synchronic, diachronic and acquisitional) and theoretical aspects of pro-drop.

Since Rizzi’s (1982) work, it has been known that there exist different types of null-subject languages. Roberts & Holmberg (2010) propose that there exist four types of pro-drop languages:

– Consistent null-subject languages, such as Italian and Greek, in which a referential subject can be dropped in any syntactic environment
– Radical pro-drop languages, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, in which the presence of a null-subject correlates with dropping of nominals in several environments (cf. Huang 1984, Tomioka 2003, Saito 2007, Neeleman & Szendröi 2007)
– Expletive null-subject languages, such as standard German, varieties of Dutch and Afrikaans (cf. Biberauer 2010), in which expletive, but not referential subjects can be dropped under certain syntactic conditions
– Partial null-subject languages, such as Finnish, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian, in which ‘the pronominal subject may remain unexpressed under restricted conditions determined by both the morphological and the syntactic context.’ (Roberts/Holmberg 2010:6)

Invited Speakers:

Manuela Ambar, University of Lisboa
Theresa Biberauer, University of Cambridge
Mara Frascarelli, University of Roma Tre
Helmut Weiss, University of Frankfurt & Anna Volodina, Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim
Michael Zimmermann, University of Konstanz


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Room 001, Department of Humanities, Via T. Gar, 14 – Trento

Greetings: Patrizia Cordin, Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Humanities

Mara Frascarelli, University of Roma Tre
Avoid Pronoun in consistent and partial pro-drop languages: An interface analysis

Pilar Barbosa, University of Minho
Pro as a minimal NP

11.10-11.40 Break

Maia Duguine, University of Cambridge & University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
Pro-drop without a parameter

Verner Egerland, Lund University
On non-obligatory control and the grammar of gerunds

13.00-14.00 Lunch

Manuela Ambar

Marta Ruda, Jagiellonian University in Kraków
On definite null objects in English

Melani Wratil, University of Düsseldorf
Dimensional progression and the emergence of pro-drop in creole languages

16.20-16.40 Break

Pauli Brattico & Saara Huhmarniemi, University of Helsinki
Non-finite pro and its licensing conditions in a partial pro-drop language

Lena Dal Pozzo, University of Firenze
New Information Subjects in a partial pro-drop language: an experimental study on Finnish L1 and L2

Stefano Rastelli, University of Pavia & Arianna Zualazzi, University of Trento
Overt and null subjects across coordinate sentences in a text: a large-scale study on L2 learners of Italian

Friday, 20 June 2014
Room 001, Department of Humanities, Via T. Gar, 14 – Trento

9.00 -10.00
Anna Volodina, IDS Mannheim & Helmut Weiß, University of Frankfurt a.M.
Referential Null Subjects in German: Dialects and Diachronic Continuity

10.00 -10.40
Ermenegildo Bidese, University of Trento & Alessandra Tomaselli, University of Verona
Developing pro-drop. The case of Cimbrian

10.40 -11:00 Break

Federica Cognola, University of Trento
On asymmetric pro-drop, V2 and the relation between CP and TP

Peter Herbeck, University of Salzburg
Verbal complexes and the pro-drop parameter in Spanish and German

Henrik Rosenkvist, University of Gothenburg
Null Subjects and Distinct Agreement in Modern Germanic

13.00-14.00 Lunch

Michael Zimmermann, University of Konstanz
Null subjects, expletives and the status of Medieval French

Kari Kinn, University of Oslo
Conditions on null arguments in Old Norwegian

Nerea Madariaga, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
Diachronic change and the nature of pro: a case-study in Russian language

16.20-16.50 Break

Kari Kinn, University of Oslo & Kristian Rusten, University of Bergen & George Walkden, University of Manchester
Null subjects in Early Icelandic

Rickard Ramhöj, University of Gothenburg
It-Extraposition and non-referential null subjects in the history of English

George Walkden, University of Manchester
Extending the typology of partial null argument languages

Social Dinner, Ristorante Orso Grigio, Via degli Orti 19

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Room 001, Department of Humanities, Via T. Gar, 14 – Trento

Theresa Biberauer, University of Cambridge and University of Stellenbosch

Trang Phan Thi Huyen, University of Ghent
Overt expletives in pro-drop languages -Evidence from Vietnamese

10.10-10.30 Break

Gréte Dalmi, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce
Generic inclusive null arguments in Hungarian

Anders Holmberg, University of Newcastle & On-Usa Phimsawat, Burapha University
Generic pronouns and phi-features: evidence from Thai

Final round table chaired by Barbara Vance, University of Indiana

13.00-13.30 Lunch offered to all participants

Alternate Speakers:

Massimo Vai, University of Milan
The evolution of the subject pronoun system in Milanese dialect

Kostantinos Sampanis, University of Salzburg
Do non-overt subjects trigger finite complementation?

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2492