Conference: NELS 48

The 48th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 48) will be hosted at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland, from 27-29 October 2017. This is the first time NELS is hosted outside North America, yet still on the North American tectonic plate, on which the University of Iceland campus is located.

Conference website:

Previous NELS conferences: see home page.

Invited speakers:

Extended deadline for submission: Monday 15 May 2017, 11:59pm EST Monday 22 May 2017, 11:59pm EST

We invite theoretical contributions from all subfields of generative linguistics as part of the general session. Presentations will be 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for discussion. In addition, there will be poster sessions. Submissions are limited to two per author, with at most one paper being single-authored.

In addition to the general session, we also invite submissions for two special sessions listed below. You may indicate whether you would like to be considered for the special session when submitting your abstract. All abstracts will be considered for both the general session and the special sessions.

1. Locality relations in phonology

Locality restrictions—principled limitations on the “distance” between the locus of some phonological element or process and the factors that condition it—have long played a central role in phonological theory. On the one hand, the challenges posed by non-adjacent segmental interactions (e.g. in many harmony systems) have prompted various changes to phonological representations and the constraints or operations that apply to them. That long list includes autosegmental representations, feature geometry, underspecification, parameterized visibility, similarity-based correspondence relations, to name but a few. At the same time, locality relations also figure prominently in theories of the morphology-phonology interface, for example in contextual allomorphy, morphologically-conditioned phonology (strata, co-phonologies, dominance, cyclicity effects), and exceptionality of various kinds. Finally, the choice between a parallellist architecture for phonology (e.g. standard Optimality Theory) and a serialist one (e.g. Harmonic Serialism) also has consequences for the extent to which non-local (“global”) interaction effects are predicted to be possible. This session is open to contributions that address the notion of locality relations in phonology in any of these senses.

2. The typology of case

We seek case studies from one or more languages that shed light on the range of case types that are attested in human languages. Studies that motivate, challenge and/or clarify central theoretical distinctions in case theory are particularly welcome. Possible topics include the following:

  • What is the formal status of the distinction between structural and non-structural case?
  • Can it always be determined which type a particular case belongs to, e.g. ergative case?
  • Are further subdivisions of case types, e.g. inherent/quirky, motivated and formally distinct?
  • Is the abstract vs. morphological case distinction well motivated?
  • How should we compare and contrast derivational mechanisms associated with different types of case?
  • Is case (always or sometimes) a PF phenomenon rather than a syntactic phenomenon?
  • Is Agree involved in deriving different types of case — and if so, how?
  • Is the mechanism that distributes case features in nominal concord the same as in predicative agreement?

Abstract guidelines:

  1. Abstracts, including references and data, must not exceed two A4 pages in length, have 2.5 cm (1 inch) margins on all sides, and be set in Times New Roman with a font size no smaller than 11pt.
  2. Examples, tables, graphs, etc. must be interspersed into the text of the abstract, rather than collected at the end.
  3. The submission must not reveal the identity of the author(s) in any way.
  4. Submissions are limited to two per author, with at most one paper being single-authored.
  5. Abstracts must be submitted in PDF format through EasyChair by Monday, 15 May 2017, 11:59pm ESTMonday, 22 May 2017, 11:59pm EST.


We would like to express our gratitude to the University of Iceland Institute of Linguistics and the Rector of the University of Iceland, Jón Atli Benediktsson, without whose contribution, NELS 48 would not have been possible.