Workshop on the Foundations of Extended Projections

Link to workshop webpage (with the same information as here)


The objective of the conference is to make progress on understanding the conceptual foundations of extended projections and the “Hierarchy of Projections” (HoP) or “functional sequence” (fseq) which is central to cartography.

Cinque (1999, inter alia) proposes a rich and universal HoP, but others such as Borer (2005) and Wiltschko (2014) have proposed more coarse-grained hierarchies. Ramchand and Svenonius (2014) argue that a coarse-grained hierarchy is universally motivated by a basic semantic ontology (event-situation-proposition, corresponding to V-T-C). They also argue that there are language-specific finer-grained hierarchies. This would entail that there is at least one source for categorial hierarchy which is distinct from the basic semantic ontology, and which can result in hierarchies which vary from one language to another.

Many open questions remain, and we aspire to discuss some of them in this workshop. For example, what principles govern the hierarchy (Larson 2021)?  What determines which and how many heads are possible or necessary in an extended projection (cf. for example Cinque 2013)? What determines when those heads are manifested (Ackema et al. 1993, Koeneman 2000)? In order to address this and other questions, we must know how to distinguish monoclausal from biclausal structures, in case of auxiliaries, light verbs, restructuring verbs, serial verbs, etc. (Wurmbrand 2001, Wurmbrand & Lohninger to appear, Aboh 2009, 2018, Pietraszko 2017, 2018), and what is at the bottom of an extended projection (Borer 2005, Ramchand 2008). Also relevant is the question of the status of mixed extended projections (Alexiadou 2001, Svenonius 2021). What determines whether a feature or operator is encoded as part of the “spine” (or ‘span’) of an extended projection as opposed to being part of a specifier or adjunct (Tsai 1999, 2008, inter alia)? How are variable aspects of extended projections acquired (cf. Diercks & Bossi 2021)? What is the interaction and dependence relation between syntax and semantics in the building and order of extended projections? How many distinct extended projections are there? E.g., can the nominal one and the verbal one be unified, are there distinct ones for P and for A, could there be others? How much structure is present in “default” cases, e.g., is there always an Asp projection even in the absence of any overt expression of it?

A hope is that the workshop will further our understanding of some of the “mid-level results” of generative syntax, those which are sufficiently high-level to have some theoretical significance and sufficiently low-level to have testable empirical consequences (see For instance, it is a mid-level generalization that only the base of a movement chain is in a thematic position—or, in Ramchand’s (2008) model, only the positions inside the first phase. For Ramchand & Svenonius (2014), this is because thematic roles are derivative of event interpretations, and so can only be interpreted in the event domain. For Chomsky (2022), thematic roles are associated with External Merge, Internal Merge being associated exclusively with discourse-informational meaning (in a dichotomy he calls ‘duality of semantics’). Thus we have two competing theoretical interpretations for a mid-level generalization. A fuller understanding of EPs could be expected to shed light on this matter. For instance it would be compatible with Chomsky’s theory, but not Ramchand & Svenonius’, to find a modal which, like seem, introduced an experiencer, but which unlike seem, was a functional head originating outside the V-domain, or to find a “very high” applicative located in the T-domain, above the agent.

Call for papers and posters

This is a two-day workshop with a restricted number of speaking slots and we have already confirmed seven speakers. However, a small number of additional speaking slots may be added, and some travel support for selected speakers is possible. In addition, there will be a poster session (but without travel support). Two-page abstracts are solicited (up to a maximum of one abstract per combination of authors). Submitters will be considered for a speaking slot (30 minutes plus questions) as well as the poster session, unless they specify poster only by writing POSTER at the top of the abstract (abstracts accepted only as a poster may be withdrawn upon acceptance, in case a submitter only wanted to be considered for a talk).

Deadline for submission of two-page abstracts: September 1

Notification of acceptance: September 8 (seven weeks prior to the workshop)

Submit via EasyChair:


Date and Venue:

October 27–28, 2022, at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

Confirmed Speakers, in alphabetic order: 

Enoch Aboh, University of Amsterdam

Michael Diercks, Pomona College

Asia Pietraszko, University of Rochester

Gillian Ramchand, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

Peter Svenonius, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

Wei-Tien Dylan Tsai, National Tsing Hua University

Susi Wurmbrand, University of Vienna and Harvard University

Selected references

Aboh, Enoch. O. 2009. Clause structure and verb series. Linguistic Inquiry.

Aboh, Enoch. O. 2018. What if your roots are polyfunctional? The lexical entry problem in Benue-Kwa. Data-Rich Linguistics: Papers in Honor of Yiwola Awoyale. Cambridge Scholars.

Ackema, Peter, Ad Neeleman, and Fred Weerman. 1993. Deriving functional projections. NELS 23.1: 17-31, GLSA.

Alexiadou, Artemis. 2001. Functional structure in nominals: Nominalization and ergativity. John Benjamins.

Borer, Hagit. 2005. Structuring Sense (the first two books of the trilogy). Oxford University Press.

Chomsky, Noam. 2022. Genuine explanation. Ms., U. Arizona and MIT.

Cinque, Guglielmo. 1999. Adverbs and Functional Heads. Oxford University Press.

Cinque, Guglielmo. 2013. Cognition, Universal Grammar, and typological generalizations. Lingua.

Diercks, Michael and Madeline Bossi. 2021. Minimalist syntax is psychologically real: Lessons from (counter)cyclicity. Ms. Pomona College and UC Berkeley.

Koeneman, Olaf. 2000. The Flexible Nature of Verb Movement. PhD dissertation, Utrecht University.

Larson, Richard K. 2021. Rethinking cartography. Language 97.2: 245–268.

Pietraszko, Asia. 2017. Inflectional dependencies: A study of complex verbal expressions in Ndebele. PhD, University of Chicago.

Pietraszko, Asia. 2018. Auxiliary vs. INFL in Bantu. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory.

Ramchand, Gillian. 2008. Verb meaning and the lexicon: A first-phase syntax. Cambridge University Press.

Ramchand, Gillian and Peter Svenonius. 2014. Deriving the functional hierarchy. Language Sciences 46 B: 152–174.

Svenonius, Peter. 2021. Prepositions with CP and their implications for extended projections. Linguistic Variation.

Tsai, Wei-Tien Dylan. 1999. On lexical courtesy. Journal of East Asian Linguistics.

Tsai, Wei-Tien Dylan. 2008. A tale of two peripheries. The Cartography of Chinese Syntax. Oxford University Press.

Wiltschko, Martina. 2014. The universal structure of categories: Towards a formal typology. Cambridge University Press.

Wurmbrand, Susi. 2001. Infinitives: Restructuring and clause structure. Mouton de Gruyter.

Wurmbrand, Susi, and Magdalena Lohninger. To appear (2022). An implicational universal in complementation—Theoretical insights and empirical progress. In Propositional Arguments in Cross-Linguistic Research: Theoretical and Empirical Issues, ed. by Jutta M. Hartmann and Angelika Wöllstein. Tübigen: Narr.