30 years of DiGS

Keywords: diachronic syntax, generative syntax


The 20th edition of the Diachronic Generative Syntax (DiGS) conference, whose proceedings we present here, was held in York in June 2018. It was not by chance that York was chosen to host the 20th edition: the series of DiGS conferences was indeed inaugurated in York in the Spring of 1990 through the initiative of our colleague Adrian Battye as the local host, with the cooperation of Ian Roberts, then a professor at Bangor University. One of the present issue’s editors, Giuseppe Longobardi, was there, together with a relatively small but enthusiastic group of linguists sharing the feeling that there was something missing in generative syntax, and there was a niche to fill. Paola Crisma’s first attendance was the third edition, held in Amsterdam in 1994, and, as happened to many others, DiGS became for her a valued intellectual habit. Here we want to sketch, in a very partial and inevitably personal reconstruction, some important events and trends which have occurred around the DiGS conferences and community and have shaped the field of formal historical syntax over the past three decades.