The Syntax of Idioms

Séminaire de recherche co-animé par Carlo Cecchetto (SFL-Paris 8) et Caterina Donati (LLF-Paris 7).


Idioms are phrases that are not derived by normal compositional processes from their parts and therefore have a conventional meaning. They have traditionally been considered an important diagnostic in generative grammar, and have played as such a central role in crucial tenets such as the hierarchical structure of the clause, the raising analysis of relative clauses, the distinction between raising and control infinitives, the VP internal subject hypothesis, etc.

The aim of this seminar is to look more closely at what idioms are, discussing some possible classifications and related theories of how they are formed/stored, and review carefully the solidity of syntactic argumentations based on them at the light of recent work questioning their validity. This critical survey will finally allow us to use them once again as evidence in favour of a non-standard hypothesis on the structure of nominal expressions.

Le séminaire s’adresse tout particulièrement aux doctorants de Paris 7 et Paris 8, mais est ouvert à tous les linguistes intéressés.


  • Lundi 8 février, 16:00-17:30
    ODG – Salle 135
  • Lundi 22 février, 16:00-17:30
    59 rue Pouchet, salle 124, Paris 8
  • Lundi 29 février, 16:00-17:30
    ODG – Salle 135
  • vendredi 4 mars, 10:00-12:00
    59 rue Pouchet, salle 124, Paris 8