Workshop Semantics Indefinites : Call for papers

return to Workshop on the Semantics of Indefinites

Call for papers

Deadline for submissions: 31 May 2023      (Appel à communications en français)

The Syntax and Semantics  group of the UMR 7023 Structures Formelles du Langage will hold a Workshop on the Semantics of Indefinites
on Thur 21 and Fri 22 September 2023
The workshop will be held in hybrid format at UPS Pouchet, 59 rue Pouchet 75017 Paris (access) and on zoom.

Invited speakers :

• Julia Pozas Loyo (Colegio de México)
•  Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin (LLF, CNRS & Paris Cité)
•  Lucia Tovena (LLF, U. Paris Cité)
•  Klaus von Heusinger (U. Köln)

The semantics of indefinites has proven to be a fruitful field of research in formal semantics. While indefinites were classically analysed as quantified expressions, in the 1980s, Kamp and Heim showed that the discourse properties of indefinites were at odds with this analysis, proposing dynamic semantic models to explain the discourse potential of indefinites.

In the last 20 years the study of focus phenomena and of the semantics of questions led to a renewed interest in alternative-based semantics. In this context, research on polarity items and free choice phenomena has flourished. More recently, a growing body of research has addressed the analysis of epistemic indefinites, examining implicatures of indifference, ignorance and plurality contributed by certain indefinites.

We invite contributions on any aspect of the semantics of indefinites, including but not limited to the following questions:

•  What are the relationships between polarity-sensitivity, free choice items and indefinites?
• What are the discourse properties of different types of indefinites?
• How is the distribution of indefinites impacted by the existence of definite alternatives?
• How do indefinites interact with information structure?   
• What is the variation found among epistemic indefinites?
• What distinguishes weak indefinites from strong indefinites?  How do indefinites differ from weak definites and bare nouns?
• What is the diachronic development of indefinites?
• How do different notions of (non)specificity and (in)definiteness play out in different languages?

Abstracts We invite submissions for 25 minute talks (+10min discussion) in English or French. Abstracts should not be longer than two pages (Times New Roman 12 pt., single space, 2,4 cm margins), and should be submitted in pdf format to

Abstracts have to anonymous. Please make sure the text and the name of the pdf do not contain the name(s) of the author(s).

Authors may submit a maximum of two abstracts, only one of which may be single-authored.

Deadline for submissions: 31 May 2023
Notification of authors: 10 July 2023
Contact: [at] gmail.comclass="spamspan"

Organisation committee:Patricia Cabredo Hofherr, Mideline Dragon & Elena Soare

Scientific committee: Claire Beyssade (UMR 7023, U. Paris 8), Patricia Cabredo Hofherr (UMR 7023, CNRS & U. Paris 8), Elena Soare (UMR 7023, U. Paris 8), Gerhard Schaden (STL, U. Lille), Carmen Sorin (LLF, CNRS & U. Paris Cité), Lucia Tovena (LLF, U Paris Cité)

The workshop will be held at the UPS Pouchet, 59 rue Pouchet 75017. Map and access details under

Funding : This workshop is supported by the BQI of the Université Paris 8 and the research unit Structures formelles du langage (UMR 7023 - SFL CNRS & Paris 8).