Centre for General Linguistics

Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic

Vilnius University

About us

The Centre for General Linguistics, one of the centres functioning within the Institute for the Languages and Cultures of the Baltic, was created in 2018. It is a successor to the Chair of General Linguistics headed between 1994 and 2001 at the Faculty of Philology by Prof. Aleksas Girdenis. We teach various subjects of general linguistics, such as Trends in Contemporary Linguistics, Linguistic Diversity and Language Science, Linguistic Typology, Grammatical Theory and Syntax. We carry out research in both functional and formal frameworks. Our seminars for PhD students and staff provide a forum for theoretical discussion and for the presentation of research work on topics of linguistics at Faculty level and beyond.

People

Axel Holvoet, distinguished professor

Axel Holvoet

I am a functional linguist working on problems of grammatical semantics, the syntax-semantics interface and historical syntax, with a special emphasis on the Baltic and Slavonic languages. At Vilnius University I have headed two international research projects funded by the Research Council of Lithuania, one on the syntax-semantics interface in Baltic (“Valency, Argument Realization and Grammatical Relations in Baltic”, 2012–2015; the research outcome was published in the form of an eponymous five-volume editorial series by John Benjamins), and the other on grammatical semantics in Baltic (“The Baltic Verb: Grams, Categories and Domains”, 2018–2021).

My recent research topics include the middle voice, non-directive imperatives, the irrealis controversy and the category of mood. In earlier years I have also worked on case marking and grammatical relations, definiteness, verbal aspect, modality, echoic use and other subjects.

Some recent publications

  • The notion of mood reexamined, against the background of modality

    To appear in Voprosy Jazykoznanija 2021.6

  • The dual nature of irrealis in complementation

    Studies in Language 44.1 (2020)

  • Sources and pathways for non-directive imperatives

    Linguistics 58.2 (2020), pp. 333–362

  • Epistemic modality, evidentiality, quotativity and echoic use

    In: Epistemic Modalities and Evidentiality in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, Zlatka Guentchéva (ed.),
    De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin, 2008

Vladimir Panov, assistant professor

Vladimir Panov

I am a scholar in linguistic typology and general linguistics. The sphere of my research interests covers such topics as the typology of grammatical categories of the verb, the typology of discourse particles, boundaries between morphology, syntax and discourse, language-particular description of grammatical and discourse phenomena, the areal typology of Eurasia. In my research, I combine the traditional Greenbergian typology based on comparative concepts with elements of multivariate typology, but I am also interested in constructionist usage-based approaches and, recently, practice-oriented frameworks of linguistic anthropology.

I have fieldwork experience studying the living Greek dialects of Italy (Salento) and the Buriat language.

My last personal project (a postdoctoral study, 2018-2020) was devoted to the study of areal patterns of distribution of discourse particles in Eurasia. More recently, I have been involved in “The Baltic verb” project studying aspects of the grammar of the Lithuanian verb in a typological context.

Recent papers

  • Juk and gi, and “particles” in contemporary Lithuanian: Explaining language-particular elements in a cross-linguistic context

    Kalbotyra 72, pp. 58–86

  • The marking of uncontroversial information in Europe: presenting the enimitive

    Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 52.1, pp. 1–44

  • Final particles in Asia: Establishing an areal feature

    Linguistic Typology 24.1, pp. 13–70

  • Exploring the asymmetric coding of autobenefactive in Lithuanian and beyond

    Baltic Linguistics 11, pp. 343–371

  • A peculiar Lithuanian particle mat or Mat ją bala, irgi mat dalelytė!

    (co-authored with Ringailė Trakymaitė)

    Vilnius University Open Series 16, pp. 291–308

Anna Daugavet, assistant professor

Anna Daugavet

I have studied areal parallels in the development of phonological and grammatical categories in Baltic, Finnic and Slavonic languages. I have done research on tone and stress patterns and syllable weight, as well as their interaction with vowel and consonant changes. Since these features are often used in classification of dialects, my work also touches upon issues of dialect history. My current interests lie with verbal categories as they are reflected in monolingual and parallel text corpora, especially the expression of aspectual and modal meanings.

Some recent publications

  • Perfekt v litovskom i latyšskom jazykax: sopostavitel’nyj analiz na osnove tipologičeskoj ankety [Perfect grams in Lithuanian and Latvian: A comparative analysis based on a typological questionnaire]

    Voprosy Jazykoznanija 2021.4, pp. 7–41

  • Central and Eastern Europe

    (co-authored with Maciej Karpiński, Bistra Andreeva, Eva-Liina Asu, Štefan Beňuš, and Katalin Mády)

    In: The Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody, C. Gussenhoven & A. Chen (eds.) Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2020, pp. 225–235

  • An elusive experiential tense construction in Latvian

    Baltic Linguistics 2019.10, pp. 109–153

Alexandre Cremers, postdoctoral research worker

Alexandre Cremers

I am a researcher in linguistics, more specifically in semantics and pragmatics. My research focuses on phenomena at the interface between linguistic meaning and general reasoning, in particular questions, implicatures, and gradable adjectives. My work combines psycholinguistic approaches (studying linguistic behavior both in adults and in children), traditional formal approaches inspired by logic, and quantitative probabilistic modeling.

I currently work on the LMT project “Efficient communication under uncertainty: Vagueness and Implicatures”. The goal is to find out how we manage to communicate efficiently using vague terms such as 'tall' or 'far', and how vagueness interacts with our ability to figure out the speaker's intentions.

Some recent publications

  • Ignorance implicatures of modified numerals

    (co-authored with L. Coppock, J. Dotlačil, and F. Roelofsen)

    Linguistics and Philosophy 2021

  • Vagueness in Implicature: The Case of Modified Adjectives

    (co-authored with T. Leffel, N. Gotzner, and J. Romoli)

    Journal of Semantics 2019

  • Distributive ignorance inferences

    (co-authored with F. Roelofsen, and W. Uegaki)

    Semantics & Pragmatics 2019

  • Plurality effects in an exhaustification-based theory of embedded questions

    Natural Language Semantics 26.3, 2019, pp. 193–251

Danguolė Kotryna Kapkan, PhD student

Danguolė Kotryna Kapkan

I am currently working on my PhD thesis, dealing with peripheral perfects in the European languages. My main research interests lie with linguistic typology, grammatical semantics, grammaticalization, corpus linguistics, linguistic variation, Lithuanian, Italian, and the dialects of Southern Italy. In my work, I try to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods while being conscious not only of the cross-linguistic, but also of the intra-linguistic variation. Previously, I studied English and Portuguese languages at the University of Bari, Italy (BA), and then General Linguistics at the University of Vilnius (MA), where I decided to stay for my PhD, after doing a couple of study semesters abroad in Antwerp, Belgium, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Some recent publications

  • Perfect in Lithuanian: A case study based on the data from Facebook comments

    To appear in Baltic Linguistics

  • La fraseologia calviniana in lituano: Il caso di Perplėštas vikontas

    In: Si dice in molti modi. Fraseologia e traduzioni nel Visconte dimezzato di Italo Calvino. Sabine E. Koesters Gensini & Andrea Berardini (eds.), Sapienza Università Editrice, Roma, 2020