The grammar of knowledge asymmetries:
‘Conjunct/Disjunct’ alignment from a cross-linguistic perspective.

Sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation


In so-called ‘Conjunct/Disjunct’ alignment systems, verbs inflect for special ‘conjunct’ morphology when the subject is first person in statements or second person in questions. Like related phenomena in evidentiality systems, such patterns appear to signal the particular person in a speech situation who is the 'epistemic authority' for the described event. Conjunct/Disjunct alignment patters were first described by researchers of Tibeto-Burman languages. Compellingly similar patterns have since been found in languages of the Caucasus, Mongolic languages of China, Andean South America and Highlands New Guinea. As data emerge from around the world it has become apparent that the Conjunct/Disjunct alignment pattern constitutes a recurring linguistic type that has not yet been investigated as a typological phenomenon.

This workshop brings together for the first time experts on each of the geographic areas where Conjunct/Disjunct alignment has been attested to present new research on these systems. The aim is to build a picture of the range of formal and functional variation that exists in this domain across languages, in order to increase our understanding of what Conjunct/Disjunct alignment does, how it works, and how it arises. The first day of the workshop (Wednesday, July 13) is a public event, consisting of a series of presentations on Conjunct/Disjunct phenomena in individual languages, and closing with a general discussion led by Nicholas Evans. The second day (Thursday, July 14) is a closed session in which researchers will share ideas and discuss various interrelated topics central to Conjunct/Disjunct alignment, including formal typological patterns, diachrony, semantics, pragmatics and usage.

There is no registration fee for the workshop. If possible, please let the workshop organizers know in advance that you are planning to attend so that we provide enough space, handouts and refreshments. The Wednesday July 13 sessions are open to public attendance (individual talks or the entire day) and will be of general interest for linguistic typology and other areas of linguistics. The July 14 discussion sessions are closed and are primarily of interest to participants planning on attending the entire workshop, but please contact us if you have any questions about this. E-mail contact: Simeon Floyd


  • Simeon Floyd, simeon DOT floyd AT mpi DOT nl
  • Elisabeth Norcliffe, elisabeth DOT norcliffe AT mpi DOT nl
  • Lila San Roque


Program for the workshop can be found here