Workshop programme:

Key note speaker: 15:00 – 16:00 Carlos de Cuba, Kingsborough Community College, New York: In a referential manner of speaking
16:15 – 16:45: Ivana Brač and Matea Birtić,  Institute of Croatian language and Linguistics, Valency patterns of manner of speaking verbs in the Croatian language
16:45 – 17:15: Hajnalka Dimény, Babeș-Bolyai University, Manner of speaking and nature of the speech content in Hungarian verbs of speaking
17:15 – 17:45: Mateusz Kminikowski, The silesian University in Katowice, Semantic changes to some german speaking verbs over the past few decades.
17:45 – 18:15: Irina Stoica, University of Bucharest, Whispering and hollering across languages

Access details

Meeting link:
Meeting ID: 923 4488 7631
Passcode: 831458


Call Deadline: 25 April 2021

Meeting Description:

Workshop “The syntax and the semantics of manner of speaking verbs” will take place online on May 28, 2021.

Organizer: Irina Stoica, University of Bucharest

The workshop aims at bringing into discussion recent theoretical and experimental research in the syntax and semantics of manner of speaking verbs, both in English and across languages.


Keynote speaker:

Carlos de Cuba (Kingsborough Community College)

First defined as a distinct class by Zwicky (1971), manner of speaking verbs have since been argued to behave differently from other verbs of communication not only from a semantic standpoint (i.e. they have an additional component of meaning – Erteschik-Shir, 2005; Ambridge and Goldberg, 2008; Kogusuri, 2009), but also syntactically (e.g. in English they induce island effects, they do not allow complementizer omission;  a.o. (Stowell, 1981; Cinque, 1990;  Snyder, 1992; Pesetsky, 1995; de Cuba, 2018).

(1) *Who did Mary whisper that John met? (Cinque, 1990)
(2) Barney whispered *(that) Wilma was dating Fred. (de Cuba, 2018)

On the other hand, empirical data show that manner of speaking verbs evince a somewhat variable behaviour, instances of both extraction and complementizer omission, for example, being attested in the literature.

(3) ?What did Truman Capote lisp that he’d do? (Erteschik-Shir, 2005)
(4) John whined Bill was an undercover agent. (Dor, 2005)

Their variable behaviour raises questions with respect not only to their structure, but also at a more general level, given the long-standing discussions on classes of verbs in general (Levin, 1993). While some argue that these verbs can be analyzed as constituting a specific class (Zwicky, 1971), other voices claim that classes of verbs in general are epiphenomenal and that components of meaning are what dictate their properties and behaviour (Mufwene 1978).

While a matter of debate in English, manner of speaking verbs seem to be mainly understudied in other languages.

Some of the questions we would like to address include but are not limited to the following:

1. How can the semantic properties and the syntactic behaviour of manner of speaking verbs be accounted for (in contrast with other classes of verbs)?
2. Do manner of speaking verbs behave similarly across languages?
3. Is there a correlation between the syntax and the semantics of manner of speaking verbs?


Call for Papers:

We invite abstracts for 30 minute talks (with a 10 minute discussion included). Abstracts should be no longer than 2 pages in a font size no less than 12pt, including examples and references. Abstracts should be anonymous. Contact details (Author’s name and affiliation) and the title of the presentation should be included in the accompanying email.

A selection of the papers will be published in Bucharest Working Paper in Linguistics (ISSN 2069-9239)

Please send your abstract (PDF format) to


Important Dates:

– Deadline for abstract submission: April 25, 2021
– Notification of acceptance May 9, 2021
– Workshop: May 28, 2021