Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Congresos y Jornadas

Islands in Contemporary Linguistic Theory

Islands in Contemporary Linguistic TheoryNovember 16-18, 2011


Displacements have occupied a central role in the development of syntactic theorizing since the outset of Generative Grammar. They are taken as clear exponents of context-sensitive operations that take place in local domains. However, it is well established that some of these operations cannot take place in certain environments which are usually termed 'islands' after Ross (1967) (e.g Complex NP Constraint, the Wh-island, Negative islands, Adjunct islands, Coordinate Structure Constraints). Over the years, there have been a wide range of accounts for the nature and source of the various island effects (for an overview cf. Goodluck & Rochmont 1992, Szabolcsi 2006, Boeckx 2007), with debates concerning the role of syntactic locality constraints (cf. Chomsky 1986, Rizzi 1990, Starke 2001), information structure (cf. Erteshik-Shir 1973), language processing (cf. Kluender 1998, Phillips 2006) or semantic factors (cf. Szabolcsi & Zwarts 1993, Abrusan 2007). Although there is no consensus emerging from these studies, it has become clear that the classical 'bounding node'/'barrier' type of explanation has to be revised and reanalyzed taking into account the latest trends in generative grammar (specially, phase-based computations, multidominance structures, etc.). Thus, some of the questions that we would like to address in this workshop are the following ones:

  1. What makes islands opaque domains? Do island effects reflect structural ill-formedness, semantic contradiction or language processing difficulties?
  2. Are some domains inherently islands or is islandhood always derivative?
  3. What do islands do? What are the different consequences of derivational and representational approaches to islands? (cf., i.a., Boeckx (2003), Gallego (2010) and Abe & Hornstein (2011) for discussion).
  4. What is the reality and nature of the 'island repair' strategies like the ones proposed in works like Merchant (2001), Fox & Pesetsky (2004), Lasnik (2009)?

We would like this workshop to provide a meeting point and a forum for open discussion for all researchers working on new trends to explain the nature and effects of islands.

index >>



  • Anamaria Falaus
  • Aritz Irurtzun
  • Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria
  • Vidal Valmala

index >>



  • Cedric Boeckx (ICREA/Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Howard Lasnik (Unversity of Maryland)
  • Marta Abrusan (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

index >>



Abstracts must be anonymous, in .pdf format, and should be no longer than two pages in length (including examples and references), in a 12-point font, single line spacing and 2,5 cm. margins. Submissions are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract per author. Deadline for abstract submission: June 27, 2011

Important dates:

Deadline for abstract submission: June 27, 2011 Notification of acceptance: July 31, 2011 Conference dates: November 16-18, 2011

index >>



November 16

15:00 – 15:15
Welcome address

15:15 – 16:15
Invited speaker: Howard Lasnik (U. of Maryland)
Another Look at Island Repair by Deletion
Abstract (pdf, 35 KB)
Handout (pdf, 261 KB)

16:15 – 16:55
Marc Richards (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)
No Phase is an Island(?): On the Deletability of Edge Features and the Derivational Dynamics of CED Effects.
Abstract (pdf, 144 KB)

16:55 – 17:15
Coffee break

17:15 – 17:55
Carlo Cecchetto (U. of Milano-Bicocca) & Caterina Donati (U. of Rome- La Sapienza)
Relabeling + No Labeling = Islands.
Abstract (pdf, 30 KB)
Handout (pdf, 108 KB)

17:55 – 18:35
Vassilios Spyropoulos & Nikolaos Stamatogianis (U. of Athens)
Sub-extraction from subjects in Greek: Things that you can think and you can say.
Abstract (pdf, 141 KB)
Handout (pdf, 311 KB)

November 17

10:00 – 11:00
Invited speaker: Marta Abrusan (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
A semantic explanation of factive and wh-islands
Abstract (pdf, 35 KB)
Handout (pdf, 195 KB)

11:00 – 11:40
Bradley Larson (U. of Maryland)
What can Multidominance tell us about islands?
Abstract (pdf, 284 KB)
Handout (pdf, 318 KB)

11:40 – 12:00
Coffee break

12:00 – 12:40
João Costa (FCSH - Universidade Nova de Lisboa) & Kleanthes Grohmann (U. of Cyprus)
Islandhood and Clitics in Language Development.
Abstract (pdf, 84 KB)
Handout (pdf, 5.85 MB)

12:40 – 13:20
Cristiano Chesi (U. of Siena; ISCTE, Lisbon) & Valentina Bianchi (U. of Siena)
Islands violations as unresolved thematically-driven dependencies.
Abstract (pdf, 94.6KB)

13:20 – 15:00
Lunch break

15:00 – 15:40
David Medeiros (U. of Michigan)
The status of wh-islands in Japanese: Evidence from a reaction time paradigm.
Abstract (pdf, 139 KB)

15:40 – 16:20
Dan Michel (UC San Diego)
Individual differences inform the syntax-processing island debate.
Abstract (pdf, 32 KB)
Handout (pdf, 445 KB)

16:20 – 16:50
Coffee break

16:50 – 17:30
Dan Michel and Grant Goodall (UC San Diego)
Finiteness effects in adjunct islands.
Abstract (pdf, 17 KB)
Handout (pdf, 87 KB)

17:30 – 18:10
Akira Omaki (Johns Hopkins University) & Chizuru Nakao (Daito Bunka University)
Acceptability asymmetry and interpretive symmetry between subject and object resumptive pronouns in English.
Abstract (pdf, 108 KB)

November 18

10:00 – 11:00
Invited speaker: Cedric Boeckx (ICREA/U. Autònoma de Barcelona)
The character of island conditions: Thoughts inspired by contemporary linguistic theory.
Abstract (pdf, 31 KB)
Handout (pdf, 161 KB)

11:00 – 11:40
James Griffiths (Groningen University) & Aniko Liptak (LUCL, Leiden University)
Contrastivity in island repair: an argument for parallelism.

Abstract (pdf, 105 KB)

11:40 – 12:00
Coffee break

12:00 – 12:40
Rosmin Mathew (CASTL, Tromso)
Circumventing Islands.
Abstract (pdf, 169 KB)
Handout (pdf, 232 KB)

12:40 – 13:20
Andrés Saab (U. Nacional del Comahue / Leiden University) & Pablo Zdrojewski (U. of Buenos Aires)
Anti-repair effects under ellipsis: diagnosing (post)-syntactic clitics in Spanish.
Abstract (pdf, 22 KB)
Handout (pdf, 110 KB)

13:20 – 14:00
Klaus Abels (U. College of London)
Don’t repair that island! It ain’t broke.
Abstract (pdf, 60 KB)
Handout (pdf, 164 KB)

14:00 - 14:10
Closing remarks


Jean Crawford (U. of Connecticut)
Using Syntactic Satiation to Investigate Subject Islands.
Abstract (pdf, 92 KB)

index >>



  • By train: the train station is at the city centre and very close to the 'Faculty of Letters' where the conference will be held.
  • By plane: You will have to fly to Bilbao International Airport, and then get a bus or a taxi to Vitoria-Gasteiz:
    • BY BUS: First you have to go from the airport to Termibus Coach Station in Bilbao. There is a cheap bus to Termibus (around 1'15 €, to pay directly at the bus) every 30 minutes, and it takes around 35 minutes to get there. You can also get a taxi from the airport to Termibus: it is a bit faster, but a lot more expensive. Then, from Termibus you have to take a coach to Vitoria-Gasteiz. The company which serves this route is called La Unión. Direct buses take around one hour and cost around 7 € (you have to buy the tickets at the La Unión ticket booth in Termibus.
    • BY TAXY: The taxi from Bilbao airport to Vitoria-Gasteiz costs around 110 €.

index >>



Gradu Aretoa (ground floor)
Faculty of Letters
Unibertsitateko Ibilbidea 5
01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz

index >>



The conference will take place at the FACULTY OF LETTERS, Paseo de la Universidad 5/Unibertsitateko Ibilbidea 5, Vitoria-Gasteiz 01006 (the red bubble below locates the faculty on a map).

Map of The University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz

index >>



Here we provide information about three hotels which are very conveniently located because they are in the town centre and very close to the university, but of course there are many others.

NH Canciller Ayala (****) in the centre, five minute walk to the university. Probably the best alternative. In this case we have negotiated special rates with Travelair, one of the the travel agencies which serve the university:

  • Single room (buffet breakfast included): 70 euros + 8% VAT per night
  • Double room (buffet breakfast included): 83 euros + 8% VAT per night

If you want to book in NH Canciller Ayala send a message to v0329@eroski.es specifying that you are attending ISLANDS2011.

Hotel Dato (budget but does not include breakfast) www.hoteldato.com a bit kitsch but very conveniently located: in the centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz and very close to the university (10 minute walk).

Hotel Iradier (budjet) also in the centre, five minute walk to the University.

index >>



To register, send a message to islands2011@ehu.es providing information about your name and affiliation.

There is no conference fee.

index >>



  • Marta Abrusan
  • Boban Arsenijevic
  • Ivano Caponigro
  • Barbara Citko
  • Cedric Boeckx
  • Hamida Demirdache
  • Marcel Den Dikken
  • Samuel Epstein
  • Ricardo Etxepare
  • Anamaria Falaus
  • Angel Gallego
  • Martina Gracanin
  • Kleanthes Grohmann
  • Nicolas Guilliot
  • Aritz Irurtzun
  • Kyle Johnson
  • Itziar Laka
  • Howard Lasnik
  • Winfried Lechner
  • Jason Merchant
  • Jairo Nunes
  • Javier Ormazabal
  • David Pesetsky
  • Maria Polinsky
  • Ur Shlonsky
  • Anna Szabolcsi
  • Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria
  • Vidal Valmala

index >>



  • Arabako Foru Aldundia
  • Arabako Errektoreordetza
  • Letren Fakultatea
  • Ingeles eta Aleman Filologia Saila
  • Hizkuntzalaritza eta Euskal Ikasketak Saila
  • Research group "Hizkuntzalaritza Teorikorako Taldea- HITT/CIT- 07/144-IT-210-07" and research project FFI2008-04786/Filo

index >>


Fecha de la última modificación: 27/04/2011