FOSSSIL matters

Formal Studies in the Syntax and Semantics of Indian Languages

1st LISSIM Short Report

April 16, 2007 by · No Comments · Spring School

The 1st LISSIM (Linguistics Spring School in the Indian Mountains) was held under the auspices of FOSSSIL (Formal Studies in Syntax and Semantics of Indian Languages) from March 26 to April 4th, 2007 in Kausani, a hill station in the famed Kumaun region of the northern Indian state of Uttaranchal (recently re-christened Uttarakhand). The School involved 9 days of teaching by 4 renowned linguists from 10:30 AM to 6 PM everyday divided into 3 sessions each day. In total, the School consisted of 42 hrs of teaching and discussion on the following topics:

·        Generic Null pronouns

·        Syntax of replies to yes/ no question

·        Split Ergativity in Hawrami

·        Head movement

·        Incorporation

·        Romance complement and 2nd position clitics

·        Clitic climbing and restructuring verbs

·        Causatives

·        Split Ergativity

·        Remnant movement

·        Phrasal movement approach to verb morphology

·        Topic/ Focus structure wrt:

o    Scrambling

o    Wh-t dependency

o    Extraction

o    Superiority

o    Aspectual focus

The four teachers were:

·        KA Jayaseelan (Remnant/ Phrasal Movement)

·        Nomi Erteschik-Shir (Topic/ Focus)

·        Ian Roberts (Head Movement)

·        Anders Holmberg (pro; Yes/ No replies)


Research (MPhil and PhD) Linguistics students and teachers from University of Delhi, Jawaharlal University (Delhi), CIEFL (Hyderabad), Tezpur University (Assam), University of Trieste attended the School, a couple of them working on Indian Sign Language.

Data and constructions from at least 15 languages from 10 different language families were discussed during this period, they are:

Assamese, Bangla, Danish, Eke Gussi (a Bantu language), Finnish, French, Hawrami (a Kurdish language), Hindi, Indian Sign Language, Italian, Khasi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Sindhi and Vietnamese

Venue: A beautiful, many-levelled hotel in the midst of one of the most stunning, snow capped ranges of the Himalayas, which includes Nanda Devi, the highest peak on the Indian side. Wide open space and beautiful gardens of the hotel combined with excellent and very helpful staff made this a memorable experience for all. In addition, the fact that the entire hotel was given to us and we set the menu for each meal, and once, on the day of the party towards the end, even cooked for ourselves, gave us a lot of freedom to do our own things as well. Pleasant evenings were spent in groups sitting in the verandahs discussing linguistic and non-linguistics things. Ten days of accommodation (shared except for the teachers), food, transport (from the nearest railhead to the hotel, about 140 Kms) was about Rs 2680 (Euro 48, Pound 32, Dollar 59). Registration for the Spring School and life membership to the Society were extra for foreign participants.

Excursion: Right at the middle of the School, the group went for a one-night outing to Chaukori to enjoy the view of yet another range consisting of Annapurna –the third highest peak in the world. The group also had a special and memorable bonfire night during this trip. The cost per person for the outing including accommodation, food, drinks and transport (180 Kms in all) was only Rs. 672 (Euro 12, Pound 8, Dollar 15).



1st Linguistics Spring School in the Indian Mountains

January 27, 2007 by · No Comments · Spring School


trishul_small.jpg   hotel_small.jpg   hotel_s2.jpg

1st Linguistics Spring School in the Indian Mountains
in Kausani

FOSSSIL announces the 1st LISSIM to take place in Kausani March 26th to April 4th, in the lap of the Kumaun Hills, India. Overlooking the highest peak on the Indian side, Nanda Devi, and several other peaks including the famous, Trishul, the Spring School venue is ideal for communal leaving and learning, devoid of the usual distractions of a city, town or even a touristy hill station.

After successfully conducting two, back-to-back workshops on the semantics of Tense and Aspect in Indian Languages (STAIL1 and 2) in association with CIIL, Mysore and University of Delhi, LISSIM is the first FOSSSIL-only event. As FOSSSIL is a non-profit making society, not formally associated with the university system, though the founding parents are all university professors in Linguistics, the only avenue of generating funds for offering reduced rates for boarding and lodging in the hotel for 14 days for the participants is through membership to the society. As such the school is open only to the members of the society.

Student Life membership fee of the society is Rs. 2500 for Indian students. For non-Indian student participants, a fee of 250 Euros will be charged. The fees will cover accommodation and food for 14 days of the Spring School, registration fee for the Spring School and membership of the society which will entitle them to one annual journal of the Society (Indian Journal of Formal Linguistics), proceedings of the 1st LISSIM to be published later in the year and free access to one annual workshop. Indian student members, in addition, will also get a free copy of the Proceedings of the 5th Asian GLOW for the first year.

The 1st LISSIM will be almost completely dedicated to syntax, empirically examining the status of some pre-Minimalist themes in the Minimalist program, like Remnant Movement, Head versus Phrasal Movement, Topic and Focus effects as a result of movement, among others. The last day of the School will be devoted to a day-long conference on the topic “Spec and Head/ Spec or Head?”.

The teaching will consist of the following faculty who are established experts in the above topics:

• Ian Roberts, University of Cambridge
• KA Jayaseelan, CIEFL, Hyderabad (retd.)
• Anders Holmberg, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
• Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Tel Aviv University
• Halldor Sigurdsson, University of Lund (not confirmed)

Teaching will commence from 10:30 am and will be covered in three sessions everyday, with a lunch break and coffee break in between. There will be a total of 36 sessions with at least 4 sessions devoted to discussions of problems. There will be a mid-School break for excursion to the Base Camp for Nanda Devi in Munsyari on 31st March and 1st April.

Since the number of student participants is limited to 20, prospective participants are therefore requested to apply as soon as possible. All prospective students for the spring school are requested to send an email to [email protected] with the following information latest by 24th February 2007:


Applicants will be informed of their selection by 26th February 2007. As there are limited seats, there is likely to be a competition for selection and the society may decide to stop accepting / processing applications even before the deadline. Applicants are therefore requested to apply at their earliest. Participants wishing to be considered for the conference may send an abstract with their application not exceeding 500 words on the status of specifiers and heads in the Minimalist Program, with specific attention to the possibility or impossibility of reduction of one to the other.