For more information please contact Pekka Posio (, +4608163715)
Organizers: Pekka Posio (Stockholm University) and Max Wahlström (University of Helsinki)
This workshop brings together linguists interested in human impersonal constructions and working on languages situated in the outskirts of the Standard Average European (SAE) language area. By “outskirts” we refer to both geographic location on the edges of the linguistic area, e.g. varieties of Portuguese, Finnish and Karelian – the latter two sharing many grammatical features with SAE but  not usually included in the group – and non-standard varieties of SAE languages, e.g. dialectal varieties of Ibero-Romance and South Slavonic languages.
Human impersonals include e.g. the man-impersonal constructions found in Germanic languages (man) and French (on), the impersonal or non-referential uses of personal pronouns and verb forms such as the second person singular and the third person plural (both found in many languages including Spanish, Finnish, Karelian and Slavonic languages), and dedicated impersonal verb forms such as the impersonal/passive form in Finnish. By shifting the focus from the well-studied SAE languages like German and French towards the outskirts of the European language area, we want to bring together knowledge of and perspectives into less well-known language varieties and examine whether similar tendencies are found and whether hypotheses developed within one language variety can be successfully tested in other languages. 


Thursday October 11th (B522A, Universitetsvägen 10B)
15:30-16:15 - Workshop introduction
16:15-17:00 - Pekka Posio (SU) & Max Wahlström (Helsinki University): Impersonal uses of 'person' in Romance and Slavonic: grammaticalization of noun-based impersonals in European Portuguese and Bulgarian
17:00-17:45 - Maria Vilkuna (Institute for the Languages of Finland): Between us and them: Interpreting plural person forms in context


Friday October 12th (B522AB, Universitetsvägen 10B)
9:30-10:15 Laura Álvarez, Anna Jon-And, Beatrice Järlung, Pekka Posio (SU): Variation in verbal and pronominal forms of second and third person singular in Portuguese spoken in
Cabinda, Angola
10:15-11:00 Juanito Ornelas de Avelar (SU): On the use of "geral" as an impersonal pronoun in Brazilian Portuguese 
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-12:15 Maxim Makartsev (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg / Institute for Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences): Man-impersonals and definiteness in Standard Albanian and Balkan South Slavic

Lunch break
13:45-14:30 Carlota de Benito Moreno (University of Zürich): Human impersonals in Spanish: the role of transitivity
14:30-15:15 Milla Uusitupa (University of Eastern Finland): Open person constructions in Border Karelian dialects
Coffee break
15:45-16:30 General discussion


For more information, please contact Pekka Posio (, +468163715)