One-to-Many Correspondences

During 2017 and 2018, there will be a series of mutual visits between our department and the Laborartoire de linguistique formelle in Paris. The overreaching topic of this co-operation is “One-to-many correspondences in morphology, syntax and semantics”.

The Frankfurt part of the  co-operation is supported by the DAAD program Programme des projektbezogenen Personenaustauschs. The co-operation builds on research contacts that have been developing over the last few years, which have let, for example, to establishing the European Workshops on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar.

We will inform on the progress of this co-operation on this blog. Here is a summary of the main ideas of the project.

Summary of the project

The standard view of the form-meaning interfaces, as embraced by the great majority of contemporary grammatical frameworks, consists in the assumption that meaning can be associated with grammatical form in a one-to-one correspondence. Under this view, composition is quite straightforward, involving concatenation of form, paired with functional application in meaning.
In this collaborative project, we want to investigate linguistic phenomena across several grammatical sub-modules (morphology, syntax, semantics) that apparently pose a problem to the standard view, mapping out the potential for deviation from the ideal of one-to-one correspondences, and developing formal accounts of the range of phenomena, with special reference to the theory of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar. In particular, we shall investigate how the lexical and constructional aspects of this theory can be combined to provide an answer to this question across different linguistic sub-theories. We define three working packages within the project:

Morphology: Possibly the first module of grammar where the ideal of one-to-one correspondence has been challenged is morphology. The project aims at investigating one-to-many phenomena in the presence of grammatical formatives (fusion, multiple and overlapping exponence), but also with respect to their realization (segmental, tonal, …). The project aims at incorporating morpheme-based and word-based approaches within a formal theory of morphology based on typed feature structure inheritance (Information-based Morphology).

Syntax (i.e., the syntax-morphology interface): Depending on the language or the phenomenon, one-to-many correspondences of the type found in morphology carry over to syntax. It is planned to look at periphrastic constructions, reduplication, and complex predicate formation. We shall explore to what extent these phenomena overlap, whether they can receive a unified description, and what exactly sets them apart. We will also look at syncretism, which seems to require underspecification at the morphology-syntax interface.

Semantics (i.e., the form-meaning interface): We plan to explore one-to-many correspondences that are particularly challenging for current approaches to the syntax-semantics interface, such as semantic concord phenomena, polyadic quantification, relative clauses (many-headed relative clauses and reconstruction effects), and idiomatic expressions. We aim at accounting for these challenges in a constraint-based framework of combinatorial semantics.
It is the aim of this project to make a strong case for accepting one-to-many correspondences as an essential property of the interfaces of natural language grammar. We attempt to provide detailed studies of exemplary phenomena
to see whether the analytic tools developed for handling them in one module of grammar are transferable to other modules, and to work on an integrated approach within a constraint-based grammar framework.

Network members

Network members from Paris

Network members from Frankfurt a.M.

Project-related volume

In 2021, Language Science Press published a volume on One-to-many relations in morphology, syntax, and semantics, edited by Berthold Crysmann (Paris) and Manfred Sailer. The volume is based on research carried out as part of the DAAD-funded project One-to-many correspondences (2017 & 2018):

  • Crysmann, Berthold & Manfred Sailer (eds). 2021. One-to-many relations in morphology, syntax, and semantics (Empirically Oriented Theoretical Syntax and Morphology). Berlin: Language Science Press.
    doi 10.5281/zenodo.4638824

Project Activities

December 10, 2018: Sascha Bargmann (Frankfurt), Berit Gehrke (Berlin), Frank Richter (Frankfurt) presentation of the final version of their paper on ”How to modify idioms”.

November 28-30, 2018: Research visit of Gert Webelhuth (Frankfurt) in Paris.

November 19 -20, 2018: Research visit of Berthold Crysmann (Paris) in Frankfurt, including talks on both days.

August 2018: One-day research meeting between Shene Hassan and Berthold Crysmann [local funding]

July 2-7, 2018: Research visit of Andy Lücking (Frankfurt) in Paris.

May 30 – June 2, 2018: Network meeting (Frankfurt), including the 5th European Workshop on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (EW-HPSG).

March 7-9, 2018: Workshop “One-to-many relations in morphology, syntax, and semantics” (organized by Berthold Crysmann).
Link to the workshop program: [local funding]

February 23-26, 2018: Sascha Bargmann (Frankfurt), Berit Gehrke (Paris) & Frank Richter (Frankfurt): “How to modify idioms”. Presentation at the 19th Szklarska Poreba Workshop. [local funding]

February 19, 2018: One-day coordination visit of Berthold Crysmann (Paris) in Frankfurt. [local funding]

December 11-13, 2017: Research visit of Berit Gehrke (CNRS, Paris) in Frankfurt, including a talk December 11, 4-6pm, IG 3.201.

November 13-17, 2017: Research visit of Pegah Faghiri (Köln & Paris), including a talk November 13, 4-6pm, IG 3.201, on The issue of (in)separability in Persian complex predicates: An experimental investigation.

October 10-12, 2017: Research visit of Berthold Crysmann (Paris) in Frankfurt, including a full-day introduction to Information-based Morphology, October 11, 10am-6pm, IG 3.201

October 11, 2017: Submission of a network-related book proposal to Language Science Press.

September 2017: Research visit by Gert Webelhuth (Frankfurt) in Paris.

August 28-30, 2017: Research visit by Shene Othmann Hassan (Frankfurt) in Paris.

June 27-29, 2017: Research visit by Olivier Bonami in Frankfurt.

April 24-May 5, 2017: Research visit by Céline Pozniak in Frankfurt.
Read the abstract of Céline’s talk.

March 2017: Kick-off meeting, Paris.
Including the European  Workshop on Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (EW-HPSG)
Read the description of the meeting and the short report on this meeting.


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