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Workshop on Proper Names and Morphosyntax

Freie Universität Berlin | November 5 - 6, 2015


Research on proper names has thus far mainly been concerned with diachronic development, thereby focusing on etymological problems and the history of names. In linguistics and the philosophy of language there has also been abundant research on the semantics of proper names and the distinction between proper names and common nouns. In contrast, questions about the morphosyntactic properties of proper names have received comparatively little attention in the literature. Although there are a few aspects that have been discussed in some detail recently such as, for instance, the diachronic development of inflectional marking, in general many questions remain open or have not even been posed yet. One explanation for this is that proper names do not form a homogeneous class with respect to their grammatical status but, rather, there are quite a number of different simplex and complex morphological and syntactic constructions being subsumed under this category.
The workshop aims to contribute to filling this gap. More specifically, we wish to explore the morphosyntax of proper names from two perspectives: on the one hand, we want to discuss the morphosyntactic properties of proper names. On the other hand, we want to focus on complex expressions containing proper names. This includes constructions with prepositional phrases (e.g., by-phrases) or the genitive, just as deonymic word formation, compounding, conversion, and others. For both perspectives, the central question is in which way and to which extent proper names deviate from non-proprial expressions and whether it is legitimate – or even necessary – to posit a specific grammar of proper names.
To this end, we invite both language-specific and cross-linguistic contributions. The primary focus is on synchronic data but a diachronic perspective is also very welcome. Topics to be explored include, but are not restricted to, the following:

Anderson, John M. 2004. On the grammatical status of names. Language 80. 435–474.
Anderson, John M. 2007. The grammar of names. (Oxford Linguistics). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gallmann, Peter. 1997. Zur Morphosyntax der Eigennamen im Deutschen. In Elisabeth Löbel & Gisa Rauh (eds.), Lexikalische Kategorien und Merkmale, 73–86. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Kolde, Gottfried. 1995. Grammatik der Eigennamen. In Ernst Eichler (ed.), Namenforschung: ein internationales Handbuch zur Onomastik, vol. 1, 400–408. (Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft 11). Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.
Langendonck, Willy van. 2007. Theory and typology of proper names. (Trends in Linguistics 168). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Nübling, Damaris. 2005. Zwischen Syntagmatik und Paradigmatik: Grammatische Eigennamenmarker und ihre Typologie. Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik 33. 25–56.
Nübling, Damaris, Fabian Fahlbusch & Rita Heuser. 2012. Namen. Eine Einführung in die Onomastik. Tübingen: Narr.

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Last modified: 2015/10/22