BETWEEN LINGUISTICS AND PSYCHOLINGUISTICS
3 – 4 March 2009
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (K.U.Leuven)
Department of Linguistics
Conference website: http://wwwling.arts.kuleuven.be/franitalco/is2009/
CALL FOR PAPERS
(new submission deadline: January 21)
- Nomi Erteschik-Shir (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel & Harvard University, USA)
- Robert Van Valin (University of Buffalo, USA & Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany)
- Michel Charolles (Université de Paris 3 & Laboratoire LaTTiCe, Paris, France)
- Christine Dimroth (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, the Netherlands)
Although Information Structure (IS) was introduced in linguistics by the Prague School
functionalism [Firbas (1962/1964), Daneš (1964/1968), see Sgall, Hajicová & Panevová (1986),
Firbas (1992) and Newmeyer (2001) for an overview], it is only in the last few decades that
systematic research on IS has started. By now, many empirical analyses of specific facts involving
IS are available [cf., among many others, Charolles' (1997/2003) work on left-dislocated
adverbials in French]. From a theoretical point of view, recent research focuses on two major
topics: (i) the notional foundations of IS theory [cf. Vallduví (1992), Lambrecht (1994), Erteschik-
Shir (1997/2007)], and (ii) the development of models of grammar which account for the
interaction between IS, syntax and semantics. For instance, several multi-level integrated models
of grammar have been proposed by scholars working in a functional perspective [cf. Pollard & Sag
(1994), Bresnan (2001), Jackendoff (2002), Croft (2001), Goldberg (1995), Williams (2003), Van
Valin & La Polla (1997)]. Likewise, whereas generative studies used to exclude the influence of the
context, IS notions have recently been integrated into the ‘cartographic' approach initiated by Rizzi
(1997/2004) [cf. also Haegeman (2003/2004/2006/2007)].
Although the relevance of IS for linguistic analysis is now widely recognized, its precise
nature and its position in human language and cognition are still poorly understood. Besides the
terminological and conceptual fuzziness that often characterizes analyses on the basis of IS, this
can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, there still is a significant gap in the literature between
theoretical approaches and descriptive analyses of IS. Whereas the former contain relatively few
detailed empirical analyses of linguistic data, the latter either focus on a particular linguistic
phenomenon in one or several languages or consider several IS-driven syntactic configurations in a
particular language. The second factor goes beyond the purely linguistic side of the problem. At
this stage of research it is unclear to which extent phenomena such as topic and focus are purely
linguistic notions (i.e. grammar-driven) or belong to specific cognitive mechanisms interacting with
language. It is very likely that IS-phenomena cannot fully be captured by linguistics because IS is
in part a matter of human cognition. This suggests that linguistic research on IS should be
complemented with interdisciplinary psycholinguistic research and vice versa, in order to test the
psycholinguistic hypothesis [cf. Levelt (1989)], according to whom IS is absolutely fundamental in
language production and prior to (rather than simultaneous with) purely linguistic processes
concerning form and meaning [cf. the research projects “Spatial Framing Adverbials : linguistic and
psycholinguistic approaches” at the laboratory LaTTiCe Paris & “Information Structure in Language
Acquisition” at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen].
The aim of this conference is to bring together linguists and psycholinguists from different
theoretical perspectives to discuss the interface between IS, syntax and semantics, as well as the
application of psycholinguistic methods to IS phenomena. We invite papers presenting an empirical
analysis of specific language facts or more general theoretical papers about the interaction between
IS, syntax, semantics and/or human cognition. We particularly welcome contributions which, more
or less explicitly, apply ideas of the key-note speakers.
A special session will be dedicated to IS in French.
Presentations and abstracts will be in English, except for the session
dedicated to French, where presentations may be in French as well.
- Abstracts are invited for 30-minute presentations plus 10 minutes for discussion.
- Abstracts should be anonymous and no longer than two pages, including references and
examples, with margins of at least 1-inch (2.5 cm), Times New Roman font size 12, single spaced.
Submissions are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract per author.
- Abstracts should be in English, except for the session on French, where French may be used.
- The anonymous abstracts (in PDF format) should be sent as e-mail attachments to
- Mention in the subject field: “Abstract submission” + last name + first name
- Join separately a file containing: title, author's name and address, affiliation and e-mail address.
- Deadline for submission = January 21, 2009
- 21 January 2009: new deadline for abstract submission (by e-mail)
- 30 January 2009: notification of acceptance (by e-mail)
- 15 February 2009: deadline for early registration
- 03 – 04 March 2009: conference
(Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders & Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
(Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
(Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium)
For any further question, please contact us by e-mail:
The preliminary program is available here.
Faculty of Arts
Justus Lipsius zaal
to find a map with the Location of the faculty in the city of Leuven.
When you leave the railway station, the Faculty is just one kilometer away.
Take the main street (Bondgenotenlaan) that faces the railway station and the monument.
After a few minutes you will pass by the statue of Justus Lipsius.
Take the second street on your left behind the statue and continue up
Leopold I straat. After 400m you'll reach Ladeuzeplein, a wide open square
with the university's main library on your left.
The street (Arendstraat) to the left of the library leads you to a small square called
Erasmusplein. Here you see a parking space with some trees.
The faculty is the huge greyish building just behind it.
Leuven is situated on the main railways lines crossing Belgium.
Leuven can be reached with a direct train (about 15 minutes)
from the airport Brussels-National Airport.
Check timetables for the train at
If you fly into Charleroi Airport ("Brussels South"), there is a bus service
to the railway station Brussel Zuid (Bruxelles Midi). From Brussels there are
direct trains to Leuven (approx. 30 mins). You can consult the
NMBS website for timetables.
On tuesday evening, after the reception, we'll go to an Italian restaurant
(called "Per Tutti") near the conference venue, to have dinner à la carte.
If you want to join for dinner, please add your name on the list that will be
available at the reception desk on tuesday morning.
Please note that this dinner is not included in the conference fee.
- 100 euros (lunch included) for early registration (before 15 February)
- 120 euros (lunch included) without registration or when paying cash on site
Please send an email to the email address of the congress with
the following information :
Make a bank transfer for the conference fee to the following bank account :
- Title, First name, Last name, email address
- Postal address, Zip code, City, Country
- Private address, if payment made from your private bank account
- Mode of payment: bank transfer (100 or 120 euro) or cash on site (120 euro)
indicating the following structured reference code :
- (in Belgium): 734-0066603-70, Account owner: K.U.Leuven, Name of bank: KBC
IBAN = BE60 7340 0666 0370
BIC = KREDBEBB
It is absolutely essential that you provide this reference in the payment,
otherwise the payment will get lost.
Leuven offers a broad range of accommodation possibilities, including hotels, bed & breakfasts and hostels.
Please make reservations directly with the hotel of your choice.
Of course you can always try to find a room in one
of these other hotels. For more information on accommodation
in Leuven, please visit the website of the Leuven Tourist Office.
For those that wish to combine their participation in the conference with a visit to Europe's capital, there is also the possibility to look for a hotel
in Brussels. Travelling time between the two city centres is half an hour with 4 trains per hour.
There are two hotels next to Brussels' Central Station that are also within walking
distance from the historical city centre: IBIS and
For further accommodation in Brussels,
we refer to the site of the Brussels Tourist Office.