The LiZZ-Doktorierendenkolloquium is a workshop for doctoral students to present and discuss work in progress. It is conceived of as a public and yet protected setting in which to address (still) unfinished ideas and current problems and to get a feedback from the audience. In addition, guests present their own ongoing research.


The colloquium takes place on selected Thursdays in room RAA-E-29 (UZH Zentrum), Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zurich. For requirements see


Date Speaker Title
10.03.2022 Dr. Borja Herce (UZH IVS) Stem alternations in Romance verbal inflection and the interaction between frequency and morphological paradigmatic predictability (abstract)
17.03.2022 Prof. Francesca Dell’Oro (Université de Neuchâtel, CH) The participant of modality and motion constructions between Latin and Romance (abstract)
07.04.2022 Prof. Greville Corbett (University of Surrey, Guilford, UK) INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP A great PhD: strategies to use from the typology of agreement (abstract)



Abstract: A great PhD: strategies to use from the typology of agreement (Greville Corbett)
This format is completely new for me, and I hope it will be for you too. The idea is to confront the issue of what we do when we have a reasonable account of a set of data BUT something is not quite right: similar data ought to fit, but don’t, or the account deals with the core data well but struggles with the fringe. Imagine this is chapter 3 of your thesis. There are unworthy options, such as (i) a slippery footnote, (ii) omitting the difficult data, (iii) brazening it out and pretending all is well, (iv) adding an ad hoc patch. You may recognize these strategies from disappointingly prestigious journals, but they’re not for chapter 3. So what do we do?
I’ll offer a ‘nearly’ analysis, and 14 sets of data. Whether or not you care about syntax, morphology, typology, let’s start from the idea that you’ll enjoy some interesting data and you want to engage with the big issue.
It would help the session along if each participant had got to grips in advance with one set of data from the sheet in the shared folder (they’re not large), to be ready to interject remarks such as “My data still don’t fit”, to keep the session on the straight and narrow. TO GET ACCESS, please contact FRANCESCO GARDANI ( 
An essential component for the typology of agreement systems is a means for generalizing over the distribution of alternative agreement possibilities. Here the term ‘semantic agreement’ is often used, for instances like: This family have lost everything. A constraint on the distribution of semantic agreement is the Agreement Hierarchy, which has stood the test of time well. BUT (i) some take issue with the notion of semantic agreement, so is the Agreement Hierarchy a problem? (ii) recently discussed data fit the constraint of the hierarchy, but do not fit in an obvious way with the concept of semantic agreement, so is semantic agreement the problem?



AbstractStem alternations in Romance verbal inflection and the interaction between frequency and morphological paradigmatic predictability (Borja Herce)

Romance verbal inflection, and stem alternation in particular, has become in recent years one of the most important objects of analysis in the Autonomous Morphology literature. Paradigmatic structures like 'morphomes' (Aronoff 1994, Maiden 2018) are claimed to constitute abstract templates, at odds with phonology and syntax/semantics, that regulate which paradigm cells may share a stem and which are likely to partake in the same analogical innovations. Because most efforts to date have focused on describing and discussing the various alternations and the changes that prove the existence of these structures, their links to other well-established structuring principles in morphology (e.g. frequency of use, feature structure) have been largely neglected. In my talk I will discuss how frequency modulates the productivity of stem alternations in Romance verbs, with more frequent cells and lexemes more prone to alternation. I will also discuss a novel pattern of alternation (S-morphome) that consists of morphological shortenings of the stem and which illustrates clearly the importance of both predictability and frequency in the evolution of stem alternations in the family.


Abstract: The participant of modality and motion constructions between Latin and Romance (Francesca Dell'Oro)
Some definitions of modal subtypes – such as ‘participant-inherent’/’participant-internal’, ‘participant-imposed’ vs ‘situational’ for dynamic modality – imply the saliency of a specific participant along with the semantic feature of control over the event described in the modal(ised) state of affairs (cf. Nuyts 2016). On the other hand, modal(ising) predicates can take their own argument participant, which is often described as an Experiencer (e.g., Lindström - Vihman 2017). As there is usually co-referentiality between the main participant of the modal(ised) state of affairs and the participant of the modal(ising) predicate, the languages of the world usually code only one of the two (cf. Narrog 2010), though their semantic role can be quite different. Building on a dyadic analysis of modal constructions and adopting a diachronic perspective, in my talk I present recent work in progress on the definition of the notion of “participant of modality". The focus will be on the emergence of modality from some motion constructions and their arguments in Latin, French and Italian.

Also consider the colloquium of the URPP Language and Space (Kolloquium des UFSP Sprache und Raum) and other PhD colloquia in the field of linguistics (Linguistische Kolloquien für Doktorierende).