Conference: Workshop on acceptability judgments in current linguistic theory

Workshop on acceptability judgments in current linguistic theory

October 25th – 26th 2018

The goal of this workshop is to reflect on and re-consider the notion of “acceptability” and related concepts, and the ways in which they can inform linguistic theorizing. Judgments of “well-formedness” and “deviance” are standardly employed in generative linguistics since Chomsky’s (1955/1975, 1957, 1965) foundational works, despite the fact that these notions have never been clearly defined and their relevance for natural language prominently denied (cf. Chomsky 1986, Chomsky & Lasnik 1993, and Ott 2017 for a survey, amon many others). Is our theory of grammar primarily a model of acceptability (and if so, what exactly is acceptability/deviance?), or of something else, e.g. the constrained ways in which sound and meaning can be paired in natural language, including in “deviant” expressions (Chomsky 1993)? What kinds of speaker intuitions do we want our theory to account for, and which should we exclude as extraneous “noise”? Can naive speakers provide relevant intuitions, or should we rely on linguistically trained informants? How does acceptability relate to grammaticality–if at all? And what can related notions such as speaker preferences, negative data, intra-speaker variation, and substandard/non-frequent data tell us about the language faculty, and the ways in which we can elucidate its nature?

Conference website:
Submission link:
Submission deadline: June 12, 2018

Invited Speakers

Gisbert Fanselow (University of Potsdam)
Wolfram Hinzen (ICREA & UPF)
Antonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh)

Submission Guidelines

Papers addressing any aspect of the workshop topic are welcome. Submissions are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract, or two joint abstracts per author. Authors are asked to submit their anonymous abstracts as a PDF file. Abstracts should be no longer than two pages in length (including examples and references), in 12-­point font, single-line spacing and 2.5cm margins.

Organizing committee
Ángel J. Gallego (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Jaume Mateu (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

The conference will be held in the Facultat de Lletres of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

All questions about submissions should be emailed to

– Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
– Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats