RED 2016 The grammar of reference: functions, variation, and change

13-14. Mai, 2016

Universität zu Köln - Hauptgebäude, Neuer Senatssaal

The International Workshop ‘The grammar of reference: functions, variation, and change’ will take place at the University of Cologne (Germany), May 13-14 2016, as the 2016 edition of the series ‘Workshops on Referential Expressions in Discourse (RED)’. It is organized by Chiara Gianollo, Klaus von Heusinger (Universität zu Köln), and Maria Napoli (Università del Piemonte Orientale ‘Amedeo Avogadro’, Vercelli).

The aim of the workshop is to innovatively contribute to our understanding of the grammar of reference, by pursuing a multidimensional study of strategies by which speakers introduce and manage referents in context, encoding properties such as identifiability (familiarity, uniqueness), information status with respect to speaker, hearer and discourse, saliency in previous and forthcoming discourse. Particular emphasis will be given to the role played by variation in the use of referential expressions. We would also like to address the evolution of referential systems in time, and the formal modeling thereof.

With our call for papers we aim to bring together theoretical and historical linguists interested in the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of reference from a synchronic as well as a diachronic perspective.


Chiara Gianollo (Köln, Germany), Klaus von Heusinger (Köln, Germany), Maria Napoli (Vercelli, Italy)

Invited Speakers:

  • Artemis Alexiadou (Berlin, Germany)
  • Manuel Leonetti (Alcalá, Spain)
  • Edgar Onea (Göttingen, Germany)
  • Svetlana Petrova (Wuppertal, Germany)
  • Mario Squartini (Torino, Italy)

Scientific Committee:

  • Artemis Alexiadou (Berlin, Germany)
  • Stefan Hinterwimmer (Köln, Germany)
  • Manuel Leonetti (Alcalá, Spain)
  • Edgar Onea (Göttingen, Germany)
  • Svetlana Petrova (Wuppertal, Germany)
  • Miriam Ravetto (Vercelli, Italy)
  • Petra Schumacher (Köln, Germany)
  • Mario Squartini (Torino, Italy)
  • Roberto Zamparelli (Trento, Italy)

Partial support for this workshop comes from a Mobility Grant of the University of Cologne for cooperation between junior researchers.

Call for papers

We welcome contributions addressing topics related to one or more of the following questions:

(i) What are the synchronic constraints on possible systems of form-meaning mapping, i.e. on variation in function, in the realm of referential expressions, as evidenced by typological and theoretical research?

(ii) How do system-internal dynamics (competition, blocking) work, from a synchronic and from a diachronic perspective?

(iii) How do referential and non-referential nominal expressions evolve in time? To what extent are the changes to which they are subject caused, respectively, by meaning-related and by morpho-syntactic factors?

(iv) What are the contextual parameters triggering or preventing certain interpretations, and what is their role in diachronic reanalysis?

Submission Guidelines:

We are pleased to invite submission of abstracts for 30-minute presentations (20 + 10 for discussion). Abstracts must be in English, 2 pages in a font size no less than 12pt including examples and references. Abstracts should be anonymous, since double-blind review will be adopted: contact details (Author’s name and affiliation) and the title of the presentation should be included in the accompanying email.

Please send your abstract (PDF format) to

Important Dates:

  • Deadline for abstract submission: March 31, 2016
  • Notification of acceptance: April 15, 2016
  • Workshop: May 13-14, 2016

Directions and accommodation:

The workshop will take place on the campus of the University of Cologne:

  • Albertus Magnus Platz
  • 50923 Köln
  • Hauptgebäude
  • Room: 'Neuer Senatssaal'

Attendance is free of charge and no registration is needed. However, for organizational reasons, if you plan to attend we would appreciate an e-mail to


We've created a list of hotels near to the university.

You can download the list under the following link: accommodation


How to get to Cologne by car, train or plane.

From Cologne Central Station (Köln Hauptbahnhof) to the Main Building (Hauptgebäude) of the University Cologne, room Neuer Senatssaal

From Köln Main Station: tickets for the subway (U-Bahn) can be bought from vending machines on the track or on board the train (coins or cash card, CityTicket1b 2,60€). Take U-Bahn line 16 or 18 in direction Neumarkt/Barbarossaplatz/Bonn to the stop Neumarkt. There, you change to U-Bahn line 9, in direction Sülz. To change in Neumarkt you have to go out of the subway to the surface line (still called U-Bahn): Line 9 stops in Neumarkt square. The stop where you reach us is called 'Universität'. From the U-Bahn stop 'Universität': you proceed in the same direction of the train and you immediately reach the Universitätsstraße. Turn right, cross the traffic lights and proceed ca. 200m to Albertus Magnus Platz. On the right-hand side you can see the entrance of the main building (Hauptgebäude) of the university. Enter the building and turn left, walk up the stairs and turn right: follow the corridor to the end, the Neuer Senatssaal (in which RED 2016 takes place) will be slightly to your right.