Workshop: Word Order in the Left Periphery

Workshop on Word Order in the Left Periphery

Location: Oslo, Norway.

Date: Oct. 17-18, 2017.

Submission deadline: Aug. 14, 2017.

Conference website:

Workshop description

In his 1997 seminal paper on the Left Periphery (LP), Luigi Rizzi argued that the CP is not a single projection, but should rather be decomposed into an articulated hierarchy of functional XPs, whose order is universal. This hypothesis has led to an extremely fruitful line of inquiry, as empirically-driven research has suggested it is indeed possible to draw cross-linguistic generalizations about the internal organization of the Left Periphery. However, many unresolved issues still remain, both empirically and theoretically.

Empirically, there is still no consensus on the actual make-up of the Left Periphery: for instance, scholars still disagree on the relative order of the various constituents which can be merged or moved to the LP (cf. Benincà & Poletto 2004). There is also no agreement on which of these relative orders, if any, can be claimed to be universal (cf. Lipták 2011).
On a theoretical level, if it is true that ordering phenomena in the LP are not a primitive (Rizzi 2013), we still have a limited understanding of what principles are responsible for the way left-peripheral constituents are ordered relative to each other, and what component of the grammar these principles might be part of (cf. Abels (2012), Hamlaoui & Szendrői (2015)).

With this workshop, we intend to commemorate the 20th anniversary since the publication of Rizzi’s paper and address some of the unresolved research questions that still characterize the literature on the Left Periphery. While we accept purely empirical contributions, in particular from understudied languages, or languages which have not featured prominently in the literature on the LP so far, we will give priority to papers which focus on moving beyond descriptive adequacy.

Invited speakers

Luigi Rizzi – Université de Genève, Università degli Studi di Siena
Klaus Abels – University College London
Fatima Hamlaoui – ZAS Berlin

Topics of Interest

Below is a non-exhaustive list of possible topics of interest:
It is often claimed that the LP is an ‘interface’ between the syntax of the clause and the pragmatics of higher discourse, but what exactly is the division of labour between these two domains, and how should it be accounted for?

What, if any, is the role of prosody in terms of licensing, restraining or ordering constituents in the LP, and how does prosody fit into the division of labour mentioned in (1)?

There can be considerable cross-linguistic variation in the relative order of a given pair of left-peripheral elements – what specific parameter/(set of) syntactic properties can account for such variation?

How can we account for the optionality of some of the movement operations which displace a constituent to the LP (e.g., corrective focus fronting in Romance languages?

Why is it the case that some languages make extensive use of the LP, such as the modern Romance languages, while others have severe restrictions on the number of elements than can appear there, as is the case for verb-second languages?
Any contribution on how the LP is structured in understudied languages/language families.

Submission guidelines

We invite submissions for 25-minute talks plus 10 minutes for discussion (around 14 slots). Abstracts must be anonymous, no longer than 2 pages (A4 or letter), in a font size no less than 12pt, and with margins of 1 inch/2.5cm. Please submit the abstract in PDF format.

We are also accepting submissions for “poster talks” (10-minute talk, plus 5 minutes for discussion. Around 8 slots).

Please submit abstracts via EasyChair (button-link below) no later than August 14st, 2017 (extended deadline).

While on EasyChair please indicate whether you wish to be considered for both the poster talk session and the regular session, or only for the regular session.

Notification of acceptance: September 1st, 2017.
Workshop dates: Tuesday, October 17th and Wednesday, October 18th, 2017.

Submit your abstract at:


Elena Callegari:
Espen Johan Klævik-Pettersen: