Workshop on Features, London, 1-2 September 2007

Surrey Morphology Group logo

in association with the 2007 LAGB meeting

Linguistic fields: General Linguistics, Language Description, Linguistic Theories, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics, Typology, Computational Linguistics.
Workshop on FEATURES (1-2 September 2007) was associated with and directly followed the LAGB 2007 conference at King's College London. The workshop brought together linguists who had grappled with features as a component of theoretical models together with others who had considered their range and variability in the world's languages.

NEW:   Our invited speakers have generously made their slides/handouts available through links on this page (see below). Please do not cite any material from these presentations without first asking the author's permission.

NEW:   Pictures taken during the Workshop can now be viewed by clicking here.

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Workshop description

In attempting to understand language, a central notion is features. Examples are person (1st, 2nd, 3rd), number (singular, plural, dual...), tense (present, past...), and inflectional class (I, II, III, IV...). Features have proven invaluable for analysis and description, and have a major role in contemporary linguistics, right across the range of the discipline. Yet little is firmly established about features: we have no readily available inventory of which features are found in the world's languages, no generally agreed account of how they operate across different components of language and no certainty on how they interact. Features are widely used, but are little discussed. The workshop therefore brought together linguists who had grappled with features as a component of theoretical models together with others who had considered their range and variability in the world's languages.

There were six guest speakers who agreed to talk on the following topics:

  • David Adger 'Features and functional categories'   [slides]
  • Ann Copestake 'Features and computational semantics'   [slides]
  • Ron Kaplan 'Formal aspects of underspecified features'   [slides]
  • Maria Polinsky 'Looking into familiar features, or why women are not dangerous things'   [slides]
  • Geoffrey K. Pullum 'Complex-valued features and expressive power of description languages'   [handout]
  • Ivan Sag 'Feature geometry and predictions of locality'   [slides]

A flag icon PLEASE NOTE:  Material from keynote presentations must not be cited without permission of the author.

The programme organisers of the workshop were Greville Corbett and Anna Kibort, Surrey Morphology Group. The workshop was supported by the ESRC, within a project on Grammatical Features (grant number RES-051-27-0122), and the LAGB. The local arrangements were provided by Devyani Sharma, Eleni Gregoromichelaki, and Suzanne LaBelle of King's College London.

Workshop programme

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Sunday, 2 September 2007

9:00-9:40 WORKSHOP REGISTRATION 9:00-10:00 Keynote talk:
David Adger (Queen Mary, University of London)
'Features and functional categories'
9:40-10:20 Introductory talk:
Greville Corbett (University of Surrey)
'Features: some key concepts'
10:00-11:00 Keynote talk:
Ann Copestake (University of Cambridge)
'Features and computational semantics'
10:20-11:00 Jelena Mirković (University of York), Maryellen C. MacDonald & Mark S. Seidenberg (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
'Acquisition and representation of grammatical gender: a PDP approach'
11:00-11:30 COFFEE 11:00-11:30 COFFEE
11:30-12:50 The LAGB special event:
The Linguistics Association Lecture 2007
B. Elan Dresher (University of Toronto)
'The contrastive hierarchy in phonology'
11:30-12:10 Peter Svenonius (University of Tromsø)
'Features and modularity'
12:10-12:50 Maria Flouraki (University of Essex)
'Features and aspectual composition'
1:00-2:00 LUNCH 1:00-2:00 LUNCH
2:00-2:40 Gabi Danon (Bar-Ilan University)
'Definiteness features at the syntax-semantics interface'
2:00-3:00 Keynote talk:
Ron Kaplan (Powerset and Stanford University)
'Formal aspects of underspecified features'
2:40-3:20 Gergana Popova (Middlesex University)
'Features in periphrastic constructions'
3:00-4:00 Keynote talk:
Ivan Sag (Stanford University)
'Feature geometry and predictions of locality'
3:20-4:00 Iker Zulaica (Ohio State University)
'A feature-based approach to abstract anaphora resolution'
4:00-4:30 TEA 4:00-4:20 TEA
4:30-5:30 Keynote talk:
Maria Polinsky (Harvard University)
'Looking into familiar features, or why women are not dangerous things'
4:20-5:00 Nigel Vincent & Kersti Börjars (University of Manchester)
'From semantic to morphological features via syntax (but not back again)'
5:30-6:10 Anna Kibort (University of Surrey)
'Towards a typology of grammatical features'
5:00-6:00 Keynote talk:
Geoffrey K. Pullum (University of Edinburgh)
'Complex-valued features and expressive power of description languages'
6:00 CLOSE

Links to LAGB2007

Use the following link to the LAGB website: to find pdf documents with the Programme of LAGB 2007 (including the Workshop programme), and LAGB 2007 Second Circular.

More information about the LAGB Annual Meeting can be found on the LAGB2007 conference website:

Last updated 19 October 2007
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