International Symposium on Polyadjectival Nominals in Crosslinguistic Perspective

 31 August 2017, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK.

Prof Anthony Grant, Edge Hill University
Dr Paul Flanagan, University of Chester

Keynote speaker
Prof Michael Ramscar, University of Tübingen
Such a difficult problem: Gendered insights into the syntax and semantics of English adjectives.

Business School

It has been suggested by a number of theorists that there exist universal structures which govern the order in which adjectives are placed – which explain why English says the big brown guard dog with the adjectives only possible in that order – and that these structures are salient across a number of languages.

This claim needs to be tested against empirical evidence from a wide geographical and structural range of languages in order to test its validity. The adjectival category exhibits considerable variation in form from one language to another, taking as it does structural features typical of nouns and/or verbs, but sometimes being fairly distinctive from either category. This symposium will investigate the extent to which adjective order (‘adjective stacking’) reflects (or deviates from) that of English in a sample of languages which is representative of the morphosyntactic diversity exhibited by the adjective class. We intend to gather together people investigating this topic in a range of languages and in relevant co-disciplines in order to develop a comprehensive account and a cogent narrative about polyadjectival nominal ordering and its implications for understanding cognition and language.

We invite contributions on languages from a wide variety of language families, particularly from languages (including those of East and Southeast Asia, West Africa and native languages of the Americas) in which the adjective class is often considered as a subgroup of verbs. Furthermore the phenomenon of adjective stacking, as a process which adds incrementally to the sense of the adjectival phrase, is one which is syntactically distinctive from the behaviour of other word classes in most languages.

It is therefore hoped that by bringing together in-depth studies of adjective ordering in a broad range of languages we can see the extent to which there are universal structures which govern the syntax of adjectival phrases and noun phrases with complex modification strings. The importance of this for our understanding of human cognition, prototype theory and conceptual ordering is very considerable. Studies based on work with tagged corpora for various languages, which facilitate speedy collection and analysis of polyadjectival nominals, are especially robust methodologically and will be especially welcome, as will papers which examine these issues within the psycholinguistic spectrum.

Please send abstracts (up to 500 words) to Prof Anthony Grant (

Submission deadline for abstracts: 14 July 2017

Date for responses to submission: 25 July 2017

Conference fee (lunch, refreshments, conference pack): 30GBP.

Travel and Accommodation

Directions to Edge Hill University

In the interests of sustainability, we would like to encourage all delegates to use public or shared transport where possible. Please find below directions and a map to the University. Edge Hill University’s main campus is located in Ormskirk, in the heart of the North West of England.

By Air

The region is served by two international airports; Liverpool John Lennon Airport ( is about 30 minutes from Edge Hill’s campus. Manchester Airport ( is about 40 minutes from Edge Hill.

By road

Leave M6 at junction 26 and join M58. Leave M58 at junction 3, taking the A570 towards Southport and Ormskirk. You should see signs for ‘Edge Hill University’ when you leave the motorway. From junction 3, the journey is 2.8 miles and takes approx 5 minutes. The campus can also be reached from Preston or Liverpool via the A59. For sat nav you can use the postcode ‘L39 4QP’ but please check that the route provided arrives via the main entrance in St Helens Road. Alternatively enter lat/long co-ordinates 53.558622,-2.875178.

By Train

Via Liverpool: Liverpool Lime Street is approximately 2hr 10 mins from London Euston. Change at Liverpool Lime Street to Merseyrail Northern Line for Ormskirk Station. You can join the Northern Line at Liverpool Central or Moorfields. These stations can be reached from Liverpool Lime Street via underground /metro Wirral Line, or on foot.

Via Preston: from Preston Station, take train to Ormskirk.

From Ormskirk Train Station you can get to the Campus in a variety of ways:

Walk: Turn right from the station and walk up Station Approach. At the top turn left, then first right. Walk along Stanley Street and Knowsley Road, across two junctions, until you reach the main St Helens Road. Turn left and continue until you reach the Campus.

Taxi: There are 24-hour taxi services close to the station.

 Guest accommodation locally:


  • Briars Hall:
  • Birches Brow:

Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Seminar Series

Edge Hill’s long-running ‘Ethnicity, Race and Racism Seminar’ series returns this spring. ErRS is an interdisciplinary research hub that explores pressing contemporary questions of race, racism, and ethnicity across time and space. Each year, we run a themed seminar programme and a symposium. Our focus for 2017 is ‘Lived Experiences of Anti-Racism Activism in Europe Since the 1970s’. Everybody is welcome to attend these informal ‘In Conversation’ events. They take place on our Ormskirk campus, with free refreshments.

Spring Programme:

Thursday 16 February

Louisa Zanoun (Former Head of Research, Génériques, Paris-based NGO promoting the history of immigration).
Immigration Activism and Public History in France.
3:00-5:00pm, Hub1

Wednesday 8 March

Peter Tatchell (Human Rights and LGBT Campaigner. Director, The Peter Tatchell Foundation)
From Melbourne to Moscow, From Berlin to Bermondsey: 50 Years of Campaigning for Human Rights, Democracy, LGBT Freedom and Global Justice.
5:00-7:00pm, Creative Edge Lecture Theatre

Wednesday 5 April

Hassan Mahamdallie (Writer and Playwright. Director, The Muslim Institute)
Growing Up In The 1970s: A Personal Account Of How The Fight Against Enoch Powell and the National Front Changed Everything
1:00-2:00pm, PSS015

Wednesday 3 May

Pragna Patel (Author, Feminist and Anti-Racist Campaigner. Founding Member and Director, The Southall Black Sisters)
Gender and the Politics of Anti-Racism in the UK: Then and Now
4:00-6:00pm, B101

Wednesday 7 June

Cathie Lloy(Ex-Vice-President, Mouvement Contre le Racisme et Pour L’Amitié Entre Les Peuples. Former Head of Research, Commission for Racial Equality and Research Fellow, Universities of Warwick and Oxford)
Memoirs Of A Keyboard Warrior
1:00-2:00pm, B005