Congressus XIV Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum

Symposium B.4: The size of Uralic nominals

Organizers: Irina Burukina, Barbara Egedi, Ekaterina Georgieva (HUN-REN Hungarian Research Centre for Linguistics)

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Despite the extensive research on noun phrases, their morphosyntax still poses several empirical and theoretical questions from a cross-linguistic perspective. When it comes to minor Uralic languages, hardly any attempts have been made to analyze the internal structure of nominals. While some specific phenomena, such as the morphosyntax of possessive constructions and the non-possessive uses of possessive morphology have been discussed in more detail (see e.g. de Smit & Janda 2023 for a recent overview on definiteness or the contributions in Kuznetsova 2012 for other aspects of nominal syntax), most of the phenomena are far from being wellunderstood. Accordingly, we are particularly interested in the size of various types of noun phrases from a structural point of view: is there a dedicated layer in their functional sequence to encode referentiality (i.e. can they be analyzed as DPs and when can they  be analyzed as such); what is the syntactic status of plural markers and the different types of quantifiers and modifiers; what factors determine the actual size of nominal dependents (e.g. lexico-semantic properties, syntactic position, etc.); do derived nominals contain projections of another category (verbal or adjectival) and how do the parts of such complex ‘mixed’ structures interact with each other?

We invite in particular presentations that address questions related to the following topics, or their combined examination, based on data from Uralic languages. 

  • Syntactic status and distribution of bare nouns
  • Constructions with numerals and quantifiers
  • Nominals in plural and the status of plural markers
  • Syntactic reflexes of mass-count distinction
  • Syntax and semantics of generic noun phrases
  • Syntactic status and structural positions of demonstratives
  • Evidence for the presence or absence of DP in Uralic nominals
  • Nominals used as predicates
  • Deverbal and deadjectival nominalizations and their internal structure

The symposium aims to generate a productive conversation about these and related phenomena and to bring together original research on the (morpho)syntax of nominal expressions in Uralic. As a result, we hope to fill in the descriptive gaps in the literature on Uralic syntax, to explore the less studied aspects of the functional nominal domain, and to achieve a better understanding of the internal structure of such constructions in general. The working language of the symposium is English.


de Smit, Merlijn and Gwen Eva Janda. 2023. Definiteness in Uralic. In Daniel Abondolo & Riitta-Liisa Valijärvi (eds.), The Uralic Languages. Routledge.

Kuznetsova, Ariadna I. (ed.). 2012. Finno-ugorskie jazyki: fragmenty grammaticheskogo opisaniya. Formal’nyj i funkcional’nyj podxody. Moskva: Rukopisnye pamyatniki drevney Rusi.

Contact person: Irina Burukina