Much contemporary research investigates the interfaces between syntax, semantics, information structure and prosody: In this multi-dimensional and complex field, many interesting phenomena are located that are highly influential for overarching questions of the grammatical “architectures” of natural languages. However, investigations in this field have often proven to be a complex endeavor:

  • In many languages, prosody is known to reflect information structural, semantic, and syntactic structures. Since there is a great deal of variation in the prosodic marking investigations often aim to detect which prosodic phenomena serve as linguistic markers.

  • Conversely, questions of the syntactic acceptability or semanto-pragmatic interpretation of sentence-level structures have been shown to hinge (sometimes substantially) on the prosodic implementations of the sentence-level structures under investigation.

  • Many of these questions also bear directly on questions of language processing: Which interface factors are to be represented in core knowledge systems – and which of them reflect general processing strategies in language production and comprehension?

Given this complex interplay of factors, it seems to be a bare necessity that researchers who work in one of these interfacing fields bring their results to the attention of the community. Our workshop aims to establish precisely this kind of collaboration:

  • Overview presentations by Stefan BAUMANN, Volker STRUCKMEIER, Frank KÜGLER and Petra SCHUMACHER introduce prosodic aspects, the syntax-semantics interface, and the investigation of information structural phenomena and questions of language processing, respectively.

  • Presentations by young researchers who work at the interfaces of the fields involved present current issues and results that bear directly on the questions at hand: Which prosodic phenomena interface with semantics, syntax, and information structure (and how)? Which syntacto-semantic structures depend on information structure (and why)? Which complexes of syntax, information structure and prosody display interesting or problematic properties in production and comprehension?

We are very much looking forward to a workshop that, we hope, will help current research on this complex nexus of forms and functions – and inspire new ideas for future research.

This workshop is funded by the Cologne Center of Language Sciences (CCLS) and is open to anyone who is interested in the topic. If you would like to attend we kindly ask you to please register ahead of time by sending an email to synsempro@gmail.com