CFP: Workshop on the Morphological, Syntactic and Semantic Aspects of Dispositions

Submission deadline: March 8, 2015

Conference date(s):
June 25, 2015 - June 27, 2015

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University of Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany

Topic areas


The goal of this workshop is to explore questions about the morpho-syntax, semantics and underlying ontology of words and constructions used to describe dispositions. The central aim of the workshop is to develop a better understanding of how existing and novel insights from different approaches to dispositions can be integrated into a single theory of dispositions and their linguistic descriptions.

Questions to be addressed by the Workshop:

1. What are the truth conditions of dispositional statements?
2. How are these truth conditions determined compositionally?
3. In what ways can dispositions be linguistically expressed?
4. What are linguistic tests for dispositionality?
5. Are there distinct notions of ‘disposition’ between which a linguistic theory of disposition description should distinguish?
6. Among the words that can be used to express dispositionality are nouns, adjectives and verbs. What systematic connections are there between the ways in which different parts of speech do this, in particular between deverbal nouns and adjectives and the underlying verbs?
7. What role do temporal and aspectual sentence constituents play in the verbal expression of dispositions?
8. How do dispositional statements differ from habitual and frequency statements?
9. What relations are there between dispositions and causality?
10. One of the constructions that can be used to describe dispositions are middles. (An example: the German sentence `Dieser Satz liest sich leicht’ (‘This sentence is easy to read’)). Is ‘middle’ a morpho-syntactic or a notional concept? Where do the argument positions of disposition-expressing middles come from? What is the syntax-semantics interface for these constructions?

For a more detailed outline of the Workshop, please consult the Workshop homepage:

Call for Papers:

We welcome submissions for a 20 minute talk (followed by 10 minutes of discussion) or a poster on any topic relevant to the goals of the workshop. We particularly welcome contributions addressing the linguistic relevance of philosophical insights on dispositions or the philosophical relevance of linguistic insights on dispositions.

All submitted abstracts should be written in English and be limited to two single-spaced pages, complete with examples and bibliography. All texts should fit within two A4 pages, with 2,54 cm/1-inch margins all around. Each abstract should start with the title (centered) at top, above the main text. Use font size 12 throughout (except for examples), preferably in Times or Times New Roman. The abstract should be camera-ready. Authors may submit at most one individual and one co-authored abstract.

Save your abstract as a PDF. Name your abstract with your last name followed by the suffix pdf (e.g., huang.pdf). Submit your abstract via the EasyChair Conference, online submission system:

Please leave your name and affiliation out of the abstract. Please indicate whether your abstract is for a talk, a poster or both.

Extended Deadline for submissions: March 8th, 2015
Notification of acceptance: March 31st, 2015


Organizers: Fabienne Martin, Marcel Pitteroff, Tillmann Pross

Funded by the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 732 "Incremental Specification in Context", the Lab Structure formelles du langage CNRS/Paris 8 

Selected references:
Alexiadou, A. and Schäfer, F., 2010, On the syntax of episodic vs. dispositional-er nominals. The syntax of nominalizations across languages and frameworks, 2010, p. 9-38.
Barker, C.. 2002. The dynamics of vagueness. Linguistics and Philosophy, 25, 1-36.
Bhatt, R. 1999. Ability modals and their actuality entailments. WCCFL 17 Proceedings, ed. Kimary Shahin, Susan Blake, and Eun-Sook Kim, 74–87. Stanford: CSLI Publications
Boneh, N. and Doron, E. 2008. Habituality and the habitual aspect. Theoretical and crosslinguistic approaches to the semantics of aspect. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Castroviejo, E., & Oltra-Massuet, I. to appear. An emphatic abilitative modal. Ser capaç vs. be able. Proceedings of CLS 49.
Condoravdi, C. 1989. The middle: where semantics and morphology meet. MIT Working Papers in linguistics, vol. 11, p. 18-30.
Hacquard, V. 2006. Aspects of modality. Diss. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Holl, D. 2010. Modale Infinitive und dispositionelle Modalität im Deutschen. Berlin:Walter de Gruyter.
Kenny, A. 1976. Human ability and dynamic modalities. Manninen, J. and Tuomela, R. (eds), Essays on Explanations and Understanding, Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 209-232.
Kistler, M. and Gnassounou, M. (eds.). 2007. Dispositions and causal powers. Hampshire : Ashgate Publishing.
Maier, J. 2010. Abilities. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Mari, A., Beyssade, C., & Del Prete, F. (eds.). 2012. Genericity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ryle, G. 1949. The concept of mind, London: Hutchinson.
Pinon, C. 2003. Being able to. G. Garding and M. Tsujimura (eds), WCCFL 22 proceedings, 384-397.
Levin, B. and Rappaport, M. 1988. Nonevent-er nominals: a probe into argument structure. Linguistics, 26(6), 1067-1084.
Thalberg, I. 1972. How is ability related to performance? Enigmas of Agency: Studies in the Philosophy of Human Action. London: George Allen & Unwin, 115–142.

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