Workshop on Proto-Indo-European Syntax and its Development

Keynote speakers

Georgios Giannakis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Giuseppe Longobardi
University of Trieste

Workshop Participants and Paper Titles

Rusudan Asatiani
Tbilisi State University
Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Kartvelian Common Typological Feature: an Active Alignment(?)

Jóhanna Barðdal1, Valgerdur Bjarnadóttir2, Eystein Dahl1, Thórhallur Eythórsson3, Gard B. Jenset4 & Thomas Smitherman1
1University of Bergen, 2Stockholm University, 3University of Iceland, 4Bergen University College
Reconstructing Constructional Semantics: the dative subject construction in Old Norse-Icelandic, Latin, Ancient Greek, Old Russian and Lithuanian

Jóhanna Barðdal & Thomas Smitherman
University of Bergen
The Reconstruction of Oblique Subject Constructions in PIE: Semantics and Etymology

Paola Cotticelli & Alfredo Rizza
University of Verona, University of Pavia
Reconstructing Early Proto-Indo-European Categories: the Case of the Reflexive in Hittite

Rossana di Gennaro
University of Pisa
Impersonal Verbs in Latin: Variations in Subject Detection and Expression in Active-Stative to Transitive Syntax Transition

Dorothy Disterheft
University of South Carolina
Word Order Change in Insular Celtic

Claudia Fabrizio
Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane
The «Inactive» Syntax of Latin and Greek Nominal Infinitives

Ioannis Fykias, Christina Katsikadeli & Konstantinos Sampanis
University of Salzburg
The Rise of ‘Subordination Features’ in the History of Greek and their Decline. The ‘Indirect Speech Traits Cycle’

Georgios Giannakis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Tmesis and Univerbation in Indo-European

Chiara Gianollo
University of Konstanz
Which Entities Qualify as Comparanda for Syntactic Reconstruction? The Case of External Possession in Indo-European

Hans Henrich Hock
University of Illinois
Some Consequences of Proto-Indo-European Verb-Finality

Mattyas Huggard
The Syntax of Questions and Relative Clauses in Hittite

Bernhard Koller
Hittite 'come' and 'go' as Restructuring Verbs

Thomas Krisch
Salzburg University
How can one deal with the Word Order Part for a new Handbook of PIE Syntax?

Leonid Kulikov1,2 & Nikolaos Lavidas3
1Leiden University, 2Institute of Linguistics, Moscow, 3Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Reconstructing the Voice in PIE

Giuseppe Longobardi
University of Trieste
How to probe History with Grammars

Silvia Luraghi
University of Pavia
Transitivity, Configurationality, Alignment Type and Lability: Evidence from Coordination

Matthias Passer & Konstantinos Sampanis
University of Salzburg
Proto-Indo-European Word Order: Issue of Generative Grammar and Information Structure

Judith Prais
University College London
Can Dicourse Analysis Features of Indo-European Verbal Aspect be posited for the Reconstructed Proto-Parent?

Karin Tikkanen
Uppsala University
The Syntax of the Genitive Case. From PIE to Italic

Call for papers

The last decades are marked with an increasing interest towards the study of archaic syntax of Indo-European languages and, eventually, towards reconstruction of the main features of the Proto-Indo-European syntax. Suffice it to mention, among many others (in chronological order) Lehmann 1974, Kortlandt 1983, Hettrich 1990, Giannakis 1997, Bauer 2000, Boley 2004, Barðdal & Smitherman 2009, Barðdal & Eythórsson 2010, Barðdal 2011, adding much to our knowledge based on such seminal works on the ancient Indo-European syntax as Delbrück 1893-97 or Hirt 1934-37. Although for some scholars the very opportunity of a syntactic reconstruction remains questionable, numerous studies have appeared which reconstruct a variety of basic elements of the Proto-Indo-European syntax, on the basis of evidence available from, above all, ancient and/or archaic Indo-European languages. Such aspects of the proto-language as ergative/active type of alignment, basic word order, subject and object marking and some others have given rise to vivid discussions both between Indo-Europeanists and typologists. Furthermore, the possibility of an efficient lexically blind system of syntactic comparison, precisely the parametric comparison method was first suggested in Longobardi (2003), Guardiano & Longobardi (2005).

The idea of the conference is to bring together scholars interested in these and related problems and to open new perspectives in the research of the ancient Indo-European syntax. Special attention will be paid to the development of the hypothetical reconstructed features within the documented history of Indo-European languages. The issues to be addressed include:

  • modern approaches to the analysis of the archaic Indo-European syntax and syntactic reconstruction;
  • Proto-Indo-European syntactic reconstruction and its contribution to linguistic theory;
  • is a syntactic reconstruction possible? which syntactic features can be reconstructed?
  • reconstruction of the alignment type (ergative/active etc.) and its morphological manifestations (cases, verbal morphology);
  • transitivity, voice, middle, stative and related categories in early/late Proto-Indo-European and ancient Indo-European languages;
  • can we reconstruct the labile syntactic type for Proto-Indo-European and what are the main types of the evolution of lability attested for Indo-European languages?
  • reconstruction of PIE moods and their evolution in PIE languages;
  • IE and PIE tense, aspect and aktionsart (actionalities);
  • word order and its evolution in PIE and IE;
  • canonical and non-canonical subject and object marking in PIE and its development in IE languages;
  • relative clauses and other types of subordinate clauses in PIE and their evolution;
  • syntax of non-finite forms (infinitives, converbs, etc.).

The workshop will be part of the 20th International Symposium on Theoretical & Applied Linguistics organized by the Department of Theoretical & Applied Linguistics of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, to be held April 1-3, 2011 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Please send us (; L.Kulikov@hum.Leiden the one-page abstract of your paper no later than December 30, 2010.

Nikolaos Lavidas 
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Leonid Kulikov
Leiden University / Institute of Linguistics, Moscow


Barðdal, J. 2011. Construction-based historical-comparative reconstruction. To appear in G. Trousdale & T. Hoffmann (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Barðdal, J. & T. Eythórsson. 2010. Reconstructing Syntax: Construction Grammar and the comparative method. To appear in H.C. Boas & I.A. Sag (eds.), Sign-Based Construction Grammar. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Barðdal, J. & T. Smitherman. 2009. Typological changes in the evolution of Indo-European syntax? Diachronica 26/2: 253-263.

Bauer, B.L.M. 2000. Archaic Syntax in Indo-European. The Spread of Transitivity in Latin and French. Berlin: Mouton.

Boley, J. 2004. Tmesis and Proto-Indo-European Syntax. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen.

Delbrück, B. 1893-97. Vergleichende Syntax der indogermanischen Sprachen. Strassburg: Trübner.

Giannakis, G.K. 1997. Studies in the Syntax and Semantics of the Reduplicated Presents of Homeric Greek and Indo-European. Innsbruck: Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft.

Guardiano, C. & G. Longobardi. 2005. Parametric comparison and language taxonomy. In M. Batllori, M.L. Hernanz, C. Picallo & F. Roca (eds.), Grammaticalization and Parametric Variation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 149-174.

Hettrich, H. 1990 [1991]. Der Agens in passivischen Sätzen altindogermanischer Sprachen. NAWG, Phil.-hist. Kl. 1990/2. Göttingen.

Hirt, H. 1934-37. Indogermanische Grammatik. Vols. VI-VII: Syntax. Heidelberg: Winter.

Kortlandt, F.H.H. 1983. Proto-Indo-European verbal syntax. JIES 11: 307-324.

Lehmann, W.P. 1974. Proto-Indo-European Syntax. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

Longobardi, G. 2003. Methods in parametric linguistics and cognitive history. Linguistic Variation Yearbook 3, 101-138.