Navigation auf


Romanisches Seminar

Workshop: Experimental approaches to Romance morphosyntax

at 54th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, 30.08-03.09.2021

Call for papers
In the last decades, addressing linguistic issues by experiments has become an established practice in linguistic research. Nonetheless, experiments are significantly more common in certain areas of linguistics and in the study of certain languages. In this workshop, we propose to focus on linguistic fields and languages that only more recently have seen a surge in experimental studies, namely morpho-syntactic features in Romance.

While researchers have been prolific in applying and adapting experimental approaches to some languages, others lag behind. Germanic languages, English and German in particular, feature a wide range of different experimental studies, whereas significantly less work has been done on Romance. This state of affairs can easily be verified by consulting the programmes of relevant international conferences like the annual CUNY Conferences on sentence processing, the biannual Tübingen conference series on Linguistic Evidence, or the Words in the World Project/2020 conference. Promising lines of publication, such as the contributions to Gess & Rubin (2004), are notable, yet unsustained exceptions from the Romance perspective. However, especially in more recent years, Romance languages are making up ground, and several topics have been addressed from an experimental point of view, e.g. different aspects of pronoun resolution (Demestre et al. 1999, de la Fuente & Hemforth 2013), Differential Object Marking (Nieuwland et al. 2013, Wall 2015 and Wall et al. 2020a on Spanish; Zeugin on Catalan; Montrul 2019 on Spanish and Romanian), or Bare Nouns (Wall 2014, Beviláqua et al. 2016).

The aim of this workshop is to give visibility to these recent developments and to bring together the corresponding lines of research, deriving the greatest possible benefit of such a platform for researchers working on similar topics. Concentrating on Romance languages ensures a high degree of cross-linguistic comparability and transfer of insights, while at the same time offering a wide range of cross-linguistic variation of morpho-syntactic features to explore.


see full workshop description (PDF, 217 KB)


The central aim of the workshop is to stimulate the use of experimental methods on morpho- syntactic features, especially in Romance languages, and to work towards establishing common practices and standards.

We invite papers addressing one or several of the following questions:
    •    How can experimental methods inform linguistic theory?

    •    What are the advantages and best practices in the application of null hypothesis testing vs. exploratory data analysis?

    •    Are some methods more/less suited to the study of specific Romance morpho-syntactic features?
    •    What are the advantages of a combination of different experimental methods or of experimental and non-experimental methods?
    •    What is the potential of comparative/parallel studies applying experimental methods to several languages?

Possible topics include:
    •    Papers addressing one or several specific morpho-syntactic features
    •    Papers with a focus on one or several Romance languages (or Romance languages in contact with other languages)
    •    Papers combining different experimental methods or experimental and non- experimental methods in studying Romance morpho-syntactic features
    •    Experimental approaches with a comparative/variational focus
    •    Discussions of specific methodological aspects of experiments, e.g. experimental setup, Likert scales vs. magnitude estimation, different statistical analysis of experimental data etc.


This workshop is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) as part of the project Experimental Morphosyntax of Romance languages at the University of Zurich, Institute of Romance Studies.



Weiterführende Informationen


Workshop Programme