May 25 - June 3, 2018

LISSIM 11: Parameters Now, Focus, Copular Constructions and variation in Adjectival/ Participial agreement
Funded by CIIL
LISSIM 11 Announced!

This is the first announcment for LISSIM 11, the 11th version of the internationally renowned annual Summer School organised by FOSSSIL. LISSIM 11 will take place in Solang Valley, Himachal pradesh, from May 25 -3rd June, 2018. Surrounded by the Himalayan mountains, the Summer School venue is ideal for communal living and learning, devoid of the usual distractions of a city, town or even a touristy hill station. The admission to the School is highly competitive and since the number of student participants is limited to 20, prospective participants are therefore requested to apply as soon as possible. Students from India are requested to apply for membership to FOSSSIL by writing an email of intention to secretary.

The teaching faculty will consist of the following established experts in formal linguistics:

Indian Faculty

  • Tanmoy Bhattacharya, University of Delhi
  • Ayesha Kidwai, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Utpal Lahiri, English & Foreign Language University


    Selection for the School is based on previous records, written essay and an interview. This year, LISSIM will explore Parameters, Predication, Copular Constructions and variation in Adjectival/ Participial agreement, and the following essay problems are designed to address these topics:

    Please attempt only ONE of the following two problems. Problem I is open to all, Problem II is open to only applicants who have never attended a LISSIM before. Thus, anyone who has attended at least one LISSIM before, doesn’t have any option and must attempt Problem I.

    Problem I

    When wh-words, especially in in-situ languages, are preceded by focus elements, the wh sentence becomes ungrammatical. This can be seen in Korean.

    (1) *minsu-man nuku-lul po-ass-ni
    Minsu-only who-acc see-past-Q
    ‘Who did only Minsu see?’

    Since Beck (2006), it has been suggested that whenever a focus operator intervenes between a question operator and the wh-word, it causes this ungrammaticality. But not all languages and all constructions exhibit focus intervention effects. Much recent work has based itself on this explanation - Beck & Kim (2006), Kim (2006), Eckardt (2006), Tomioka (2012). However, Li & Law (2016) have shown that focus intervention effects do not obtain in Chinese in certain construction:

    (2) Libai zhi chuxi-le shenme huodong?
    Libai only attend-Asp what activity
    ‘What was the activity x such that Libai only attended x?’

    Study the literature to understand how and where intervention effects manifest, and then evaluate your language to check whether focus intervention effects obtain in it. Explore with different focus elements and different wh-words. Are the effects uniformly present or absent or is there a pattern of variation?

    Problem II

    In the Principles and Parameters models of the early ‘80s and ‘90s, parametric variation was conceived of as yielding variation in the presence/absence of syntactic phenomena in a systematic way. Discuss any one such parameter in your language.

    Since entries will be evaluated for originality and novelty, avoid standard analyses of textbook examples. Entries must not be more than 2 A4 pages long, and typeset in a font no less than 11 pt in size with 1 inch margin on all 4 sides; essays exceeding the size limit will be rejected without any further considerations. Submit the entries in both DOCX AND PDF with all fonts embedded in the former, both formats should be anonymous.

    Entries must be submitted by 14th April 2018 mid-night IST, (now extended to 19th April 2018 mid-night IST), along with a brief bio-data, including a brief resume that lists the courses in syntax and semantics you have taken plus a brief write-up of your research and/or reading activities in the last year. A recommendation from your supervisor or your MA syntax teacher must be attached with your email or mailed to us separately.

    For details reagarding fees and registration, see announcemen in Linguist List

    News from LISSIM 11
    May 11, 2018
    L-11 schedule posted here
    May 7, 2018
    L-11 Final List published here
    April 10, 2018
    No further extension of the essay submission deadline, but the essay choice criterion is relaxed to: anyone can choose any one of the two themes.
    April 10, 2018
    Essay deadline extended to 19th April, 2018
    March 30, 2018
    The essay problem sets are now live: here
    March 28, 2018
    Basic web page set up here
    March 24, 2018
    School dates announced as May 25-June 3, 2018
    March 20, 2018
    4 confirmed teachers for LISSIM 11 are Ian Roberts, Tor Afarli, Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, and Susana Bejar (Ora Matunshky confirms for LISSIM 12!)
    March 9, 2018
    4 teachers for LISSIM 11 confirmed
    News from LISSIM 10
    May 15, 2017
    The very final list of registered participants here
    May 8, 2017
    The last day for registration for the School is 9th May, 2017
    May 4, 2017
    L-X Final List published here
    May 2, 2017
    L-X interviews List published here
    November 1, 2016

    Our venue remains the same as the last year, which we all liked, only if we can negotiate the ride from Delhi better!


    I am writing this letter in support of the funding request by the organizers of LISSIM. I taught at LISSIM last year. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I am grateful to the Central Institute of Indian Languages for making the event possible with their funding. Read more