Workshop: The syntax at the vP edge in African languages

We are happy to announce the workshop "The syntax at the vP edge in African languages" as the third installment of the series "The syntax and semantics of African languages (SASAL III).


Recent years have seen a heightened interest in research into previously undocumented and understudied languages, particularly on the African continent. The SASAL (Syntax and Semantics of African Languages) workshop series is intended to continue this line of research and to provide a forum for linguists working on these languages to exchange ideas and theoretical approaches to a wide range of phenomena.

As part of our DFG-funded project “The VP-periphery in Mabia languages”, we are happy to announce the third installment in this workshop series, SASAL III, which will focus on the syntactic processes taking place at the vP edge. For example, it has become clear that information-structural notions like focus do not only impact movement to the clausal left periphery (see Amaechi 20201 for Igbo (Volta-Niger), Issah 20202 for Dagbani (Mabia), a.o.) but that they also play a role for the vP edge, in triggering the (sometimes obligatory) presence of certain particles. Take, for example, the sentence pair in (1) from Gurene (Mabia), where the post-verbal particle 'la' is obligatory in cases of in-situ focus, including cases of in-situ wh-questions.

(1)   a.   Adam   korege-ri   *(la)   beni?
Adam   slaughter-IPFV   LA   what
'What is Adam slaughtering?’
b.   Adam   korege-ri   *(la)   nua.
Adam   slaughter-IPFV   LA   fowl
'Adam is slaughtering fowl.'

In addition to information-structural marking, the area around the vP edge, i.e. the position immediately above and below it, is of course the area of the clause where most of the tense, aspect, mood (TAM), and negation marking takes place, as well as the encoding of the conjoint/disjoint alternation (for Bantu cf. van der Wal & Hyman 20173). Frequently, all these processes interact with each other, very often in non-trivial ways. But possible interactions are not limited to these elements, as it has been argued that even A'-movement out of the vP phase can have an observable impact.

Invited speakers

Maria Kouneli (Leipzig University)

Doreen Georgi (University of Potsdam)


Call for Papers

We invite submissions for online or in person talks (25min+10min discussion) that investigate syntactic processes at the vP in languages spoken in Africa. Possible topics include among others:

  • information-structural marking
  • interaction of TAM markers among each other and with other markings
  • verbal movement
  • encoding of conjoint/disjoint
  • reflexes of movement across v
  • negation and its interaction with other markings and processes

Abstract Guidelines

  • 1 page abstracts with an additional page for data, figures, references, etc
  • A4/US letter paper size with 1in margins
  • 11pt font

Submission via EasyChair

To submit your abstract, please go to:

Important Deadlines

  • Deadline for Abstract Submission: March 19, 2023
  • Notification: April 1, 2023
  • Workshop: June 29-30, 2023 at Goethe-University Frankfurt (hybrid: people can attend the workshop in person or via Zoom)


  • 1. Amaechi, Mary Chimaobi (2020): A′-movement dependencies and their reflexes in Igbo. Ph. D. thesis. University of Potsdam: https://d-nb.info/1219579173/34 
  • 2. Issah, Samuel Alhassan (2020): On the structure of A-bar constructions in Dagbani: Perspectives of "wh"-questions and fragment answers.Berlin: Peter Lang 
  • 3. Van der Wal, Jenneke and Hyman, Larry M. (2017): The conjoint/disjoint alternation in Bantu. Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs [TiLSM], 301. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton 

Contributors to this page: admin .
Page last modified on Thursday February 2, 2023 10:01:34 CET by admin.