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Call for papers

International Conference "Prominence in Language"

University of Cologne, 15-17 June 2015

Prominence relations establish a ranking between linguistic units, such as prosodic units, arguments of a verb and discourse referents. Prominence is therefore one of the key notions in language and communication: it accounts for prosodic highlighting and for the building of linguistic structure and discourse representations. Accordingly, the study of prominence requires an interdisciplinary linguistic approach, involving phonology and phonetics, syntax, semantics and discourse pragmatics. Our conference aims to foster the understanding of the notion of prominence. We invite contributions employing quantitative and qualitative research methods, a synchronic or diachronic perspective, as well as psycho- and neuro-linguistic approaches.

A (non-exhaustive) list of topics to be addressed at the workshop may include the following:

  1. the encoding of prominence at the phonetics-phonology interface; 
  2. language-specific and universal prominence scales (animacy scale, referentiality scale, thematic role hierarchy, topic scales, etc.); 
  3. factors determining the ranking of entities in discourse (e.g., accessibility, salience, activation, topicality); 
  4. psycho- and neuro-linguistic underpinnings of prominence relations. 

The workshop will feature plenary talks in the fields of phonetics-phonology, morphosyntax-semantics and discourse by three keynote speakers: 

  • Sónia Frota (University of Lisbon) 
  • Manfred Krifka (ZAS/Humboldt University of Berlin) 
  • Hannah Rohde (University of Edinburgh) 

Hosted by the Cologne Center of Language Sciences (CCLS), the workshop will take place on the University of Cologne campus from 15 to 17 June 2015. The event is sponsored by the Emerging Group “Dynamic Structuring in Language and Communication” (DSLC), funded by the Institutional Strategy of the University of Cologne (ZUK 81/1). 

Abstract submission

We ask for the submission of abstracts on prominence-related phenomena by March 1, 2015. Submissions are limited to a maximum of one individual and one joint abstract per author or two joint abstracts per author. Abstracts should be written in English and not exceed 500 words. Figures, examples and references might be additionally included, but abstracts must not exceed two A4 pages. Please use Times New Roman, 12pt font, single line spacing, and 2.5cm margins. Abstracts should be submitted via EasyChair at the following address:

Important dates: 

March 1, 2015  Submission of abstracts 
March 15, 2015Extended deadline for abstract submission
April 15, 2015Notification of acceptance
April 30, 2015Registration open
June 15-17, 2015Conference 

Organizing Host:

Christiane Bongartz (chair; CCLS, University of Cologne)

Organizing Committee:

Jakob Egetenmeyer (CCLS, University of Cologne)
Jacopo Torregrossa (DSLC, University of Cologne)

Scientific Committee:

Sónia Frota (University of Lisbon)
Andrej Kibrik (University of Moscow)
Hannah Rohde (University of Edinburgh)
Martine Grice (Institute for Linguistics - Phonetics, University of Cologne)
Klaus von Heusinger (Department of German Studies, University of Cologne)
Beatrice Primus (Department of German Studies, University of Cologne)
Francesco Cangemi (DSLC, University of Cologne) 
Marta Donazzan (DSLC, University of Cologne) 
Katja Jasinskaja (DSLC, University of Cologne) 
Jacopo Torregrossa (DSLC, University of Cologne) 

Conference website:

Contact person:

Jakob Egetenmeyer (