Conference: Workshop on Little v

Workshop: Little v 

Venue: LUCL, Leiden, Netherlands,

Dates: 25-26 October 2013

Keynote Speakers:

Heidi Harley

Angelika Kratzer

Gillian Ramchand

Florian Schäfer

Lisa Travis

Abstracts submission deadline: 15 June 2013

Speakers will be notified of the results of their abstract review by 31 July.

Conference Organizers: 

Lisa Cheng, Roberta D’Alessandro, Irene Franco, Laura Migliori and Giuseppe Torcolacci

Conference website:

Workshop description:

Little v (or simply v) is one of the most discussed heads in the history of syntax. Since Larson’s (1988) analysis of ditransitive verbs involving a layered V, the idea of an extra head in the V domain, in addition to V, has taken many different forms. The v head was first proposed by Chomsky (1995), following an idea by Kratzer (1996) on (v-)Voice as the head whose specifier hosts the external argument of a verb. For transitive verbs, v was taken to be the locus of Burzio’s generalization. From this definition, it follows that v needs not be present in unaccusatives and it can be in unergatives, if they are analyzed following Hale & Keyser (1993) et seq.

Soon after, within Distributed Morphology, v was assumed to be a ‘verbalizer’, i.e. the head that transforms a root into a verb. Both Harley (1995) and Marantz (1997) maintain that, given this formulation, v must be present in unaccusatives and unergatives as well as in transitives.

As for passives, while the Baker, Johnson & Roberts’s (1989) GB analysis of passives was pretty much accepted by everyone, the introduction of a Numeration and of a derivational syntax made the relation between passive and active transitives blur. Passives were either assumed not to feature a v, or to feature a defective one (Chomsky 1995 ff.), or to be derived through the presence of a (dedicated) Voice head (Kratzer 1996, Marantz 2001, Arad 2003) by virtue of merging an argument in this head alone or by accompanying merge with some sort of operation (e.g. Collins 2005’s smuggling).

Along another line, v has been thought of as encoding all sorts of inner aspectual/Aktionsart information (Folli & Harley 2004 et seq., Ramchand 2008). Lastly, v has been analysed as the locus of anticausative constructions, middles, and impersonals (Alexiadou & Anagnostopoulou 2004 et seq., Schäfer 2007 et seq., Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer 2006 et seq., D’Alessandro 2004), and as being involved in the creation of ergativity patterns (Bittner & Hale 1986, Paul & Travis 2003, Aldridge 2004).

A lot of debate has followed since these first formulations, and many different roles have been attributed to v. This workshop aims at surveying all uses of v, and at finding a common denominator between them.