The Syntax of Spoken Language, 20.11.2015

CoCoLaC seminar on the syntax of spoken language, at the University Main Building

The research community CoCoLaC organizes a seminar on spoken language syntax on November 20th, 2015. The seminar will take place in Auditorium XIII (Main Building of the University of Helsinki, Unioninkatu 34).

Everyone interested in the topic is most welcome to the seminar. We kindly ask for registration via this e-form by November 12.

NB! The Doctoral Program for Language Studies organizes a colloquium related to Construction Grammar on Thursday afternoon (November 19th). You’ll find the information concerning the colloquium on the doctoral program’s website.


Research conducted within (and without) different types of Construction Grammar has shown that each register or genre of language may have its own constructions, or choice of register/genre may have an effect on how constructions are realized (cf. e.g. Günthner 1996; Östman 2005; Günthner 2008; 2009; Ruppenhofer & Michaelis 2010; Fahrner 2014). Such influence of the spoken register is becoming ever more relevant as a subject of study, as more and broader spoken language corpora become available. In our seminar, we aim to focus on the influence of the spoken register on syntax. We welcome contributions that broach e.g. the following kinds of questions:

– Can the syntactic constructions of spoken language be described as variants of written language constructions?

– Are there syntactic constructions that appear only in spoken language?

– Are conversation analytic data amenable to a constructional analysis?

The perspective of Construction Grammar(s) on spoken syntax will be the focus of the seminar, but contributions do not have to be restricted to this aspect, or employ the notion of construction in the technical sense of Construction Grammar(s). Other possible angles include corpus linguistic or conversation analytic/interactional linguistics findings related to spoken language syntax, and contrastive studies. The interface between spoken language syntax and foreign language/L2 teaching is also of interest.


Fahrner, Anette (2014): A Constructionist Analysis of the German Subject Pronoun “es”. Paper presented at ICCG8, September 3, 2014.

Günthner, Susanne (1996): ”From subordination to coordination? Verb-second position in German causal and concessive constructions”. Pragmatics 6:3, 323-356.

Günthner, Susanne (2008): Die ”die Sache/das Ding ist”-Konstruktion im gesprochenen Deutsch – eine interaktionale Perspektive auf Konstruktionen im Gebrauch. In: Stefanowitsch, Anatol & Kerstin Fischer (eds.), Konstruktionsgrammatik II: Von der Konstruktion zur Grammatik. Tübingen: Stauffenburg.

Günthner, Susanne (2009): ”Konstruktionen in der kommunikativen Praxis: Zur Notwendigkeit einer interaktionalen Anreicherung konstruktionsgrammatischer Ansätze”. ZGL 37, 402-426.

Östman, Jan-Ola (2005): ”Construction Discourse: A prolegomenon”. In: Jan-Ola Östman; Mirjam Fried (eds.) Construction Grammars: Cognitive grounding and theoretical extensions. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 121-143.

Ruppenhofer, Josef & Laura A. Michaelis (2010): ”A constructional account of genre-based argument omissions”. Constructions and Frames 2:2, 158-184.