Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 15.15-17, Engelska parken, room 9-3042
Guest lecture
Professor A. Sumru Özsoy "Comparatives in Turkish Sign Language (TİD)"

It is an acknowledged fact that sign languages are on the whole linguistically under-described and under–analyzed.  Research into the structure of sign languages has gained momentum only in the last few decades and the properties of sign languages are still in the process of being described.  Among the areas of the syntax of sign languages still to be investigated are the comparative constructions.  This talk will focus on the ongoing research on the comparative constructions in Turkish Sign Language (TİD).

Ever since Bresnan’s (1973) influential study on comparative constructions in English, comparative constructions of spoken languages have been the subject of semantic (Klein 1980, Larson 1988, Kennedy 2008), morphosyntactic (Dixon 2005), syntactic (Napoli 1983, Osborne 2009, Liu 2011) and typological (Stassen 2013) investigations. Stassen sets up four typological classes of comparatives: (i) Exceed (ii) conjoined (iii)  locational comparatives (iv) nonconjoined comparatives.  In terms of Stassen’s typology, two distinct strategies have been identified for TİD comparitives: (i) conjoined comparatives and (ii) locational comparatives.

The conjoined comparatives consist of two structurally independent sentences, one of which contains the Standard NP, and the second the Comparee NP. The two clauses exhibit structural parallelism in that the two terms of comparison have the same grammatical function in their respective conjoined clauses, i.e. both are the subject of their respective clause. The direction of comparison, i.e. whether it expresses superiority (‘more’) or inferiority (‘less’), is the consequence of the semantics of the two predicates employed.

The second strategy TİD employs to express comparison is what we will label as the locational comparative construction. In terms of the analysis of locational comparatives proposed by Stassen (2013), the locational comparative construction in TİD is distinguished from the conjoined comparison strategy by the presence of a single predicate expressing the attribute shared by the standard NP and the comparee NP, where the standard NP, and sometimes the comparee NP, are located in the signing space by indexing, and optional body shift. Comparison between the two arguments is expressed by the movement of the signing hand from the R-locus of the standard NP to the R-locus of the comparee NP.  The movement of the hand is co-articulated with eye-gaze shift from the R-locus of the standard NP to that of the comparee NP. The manual sign expressing the predicate of comparison is formed at the location of the comparee NP.

The Comparative IX - IXCOMP – in locational comparatives expresses the directionality between the compared participants.  In this respect, it behaves in a manner similar to verbal agreement typically found in sign languages. Directionality thus plays a crucial role in the comparative construction in TİD and the comparative construction shows that agreement does not manifest itself only on the verbal system in sign languages but also plays a crucial role in other aspects of the grammar of sign languages.

Professor A. Sumru Özsoy is a leading linguist at Bogaziçi University, Istanbul. She obtained a a PhD in linguistics from the University of Michigan in 1983. Her main fields of study are syntax, structure of Turkish, cognitive linguistics, sign languages, especially Turkish Sign Language. She is one of the linguists who studied the now extinct Caucasian language Ubykh focusing on its syntax.

Tuesday November 11: "The transmission of The Arabian Nights in Turkish tradition: An overview". Guest lecture by Professor Delio V. Proverbio (Vatican Library)

Time and place: Tuesday November 11, at 1.15 to 3.00 PM, in Tidskriftsläsesalen at the Carolina Rediviva Library.


"The transmission of The Arabian Nights in Turkish tradition: An overview". Guest lecture by Professor Delio V. Proverbio.

The present talk is aimed at providing an overview of the transmission of The Arabian Nights throughout the early Ottoman period, by presenting some results from a long-term research, carried out within the framework of a project, "Les Mille et une nuits: sources et fonctions dans l'Islam médiéval arabe", promoted by the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR) and the Centre de recherches Moyen-Orient Méditerranée (CERMOM) at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO). The next step in this project will be taken at a Harvard conference in April 2015.

As recently stated by Ulrich Marzolph, translations of The Arabian Nights into non-Western languages have received little attention. In fact, until now only few contributions, mainly by Turkish scholars, have focused on aspects of the role of Old Ottoman (Old Anatolian) translations within the broader frame of the early The Arabian Nights.

A number of Turkish "editions" ‒ the so-called P-B recension, the ZYW recension, the edition "in five volumes", a testimony of which is an Uppsala manuscript ‒ will be briefly outlined, while providing some complementary hints about particular themes (the Sayfülmülük saga, the Tale of the Three men and Isa).

Thursday October 9: "A tale of two mathematicians: Constantin Carathéodory (1873-1950) and Nasır al-Din Tusi (1201-1274)". Guest lecture by Professor Tosun Terzioğlu (Sabancı University, Istanbul)

Time and place: Thursday October 9, at 3.15 to 5.00 PM, in Humanistiska fakultetsrummet (University main building/Universitetshuset).

Tosun Terzioğlu is Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences at Sabancı University (Istanbul). He has also served as the university's rector.


"A tale of two mathematicians: Constantin Carathéodory (1873-1950) and Nasır al-Din Tusi (1201-1274)". Guest lecture by Professor Tosun Terzioğlu.

Constantin Carathéodory was one of the outstanding mathematicians of the last century who contributed to the theory of functions, measure theory, variational calculus and mathematical physics. He was a member of the distinguished phanariot family Carathéodory in Istanbul but worked mainly in Germany.

Nasır al-Din (Nasreddin) Tusi was a true polymath who wrote 150 books in mathematics, astronomy, biology, chemistry and theology. He compiled the astronomical tables called Zij-i İlkhani. A lunar crater is named "Nasreddin" in his honour.

Both lived in politically turbulent times, faced difficulties but continued their scientific investigations.

Monday May 26: Kazakh students visit the Faculty of Educational Sciences

Three internship students from the Kazakh State Women’s Teacher  Training University, Almaty, visit the Faculty of Educational Sciences and consult with Marita Gareis, The Centre for Professional Development and Internationalisation in Schools, and Katarina Gahne, Department of Education.

Friday May 23: Visit of the vice-president of Minzu University of China

Uppsala University and Minzu University of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013. The visit of the vice president of Minzu University is a further step in developing good academic relations between the two universities. The Chinese delegation visits the Department of Linguistics and Philology in the morning and discusses issues of staff and student exchange with the leader of the International Office at Uppsala University and representatives of Turkic languages and Chinese. In the afternoon, the vice rector and representatives of the Office for Humanities and Social Sciences.  Report.

Monday May 5: The Image of Mecca (symposium)

The Image of Mecca. Symposium at Carolina University Library organized by Uppsala University Library, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul and Forum for Turkic Studies at Uppsala University. Symposium on the important Mecca painting from the early 18th century in the Uppsala University art collections. The pilgrimage, the topography and the iconography. See more about the Mecca painting. Report.

Wednesday April 9: "Towards Pre-Proto-Turkic". Seminar with Professor Juha Janhunen (Helsinki University)

Time and place: Wednesday April 9, at 3.15 to 5.00 PM, at the Department of Linguistics and Philology (Engelska parken), room 9-3042.


"Towards Pre-Proto-Turkic". Seminar with Professor Juha Janhunen (Helsinki University)

The lecture will deal with the possibilities of approaching the earliest stages of the Turkic language, which may be termed Pre-Proto-Turkic. Information on Pre-Proto-Turkic can be obtained by the traditional comparative method, which involves both internal (intra-Turkic) and external (extra-Turkic) comparisons. Additionally, the protolanguage can be analysed with the method of internal reconstruction. The lecture will focus on selected details of historical phonology.