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Institut für Linguistik: Anglistik

Graduiertenkolleg - SS 2005

21.04.2005 :: Jonny Butler
Elements and learning mechanisms behind acquiring L1 and L2 segmental phonology

"What Semantic Concerns Can Tell Us About Syntactic Structure (or, towards deriving something a little bit like a Cinque hierarchy)" Cinque (1999) has influentially proposed a supposedly universal clausal hierarchy, which is extremely rich in terms of the number of functional projections involved -- 40+ in the IP domain. Cinque somewhat controversially maintains that this structure is almost purely syntactically motivated, with semantics, and even morphology, playing a lesser role, if any. In this talk I look at some semantic questions that we should take into account when building up a compositional clause structure, including considerations of situation structure, tense and (non)finiteness, outer/viewpoint aspect, and modality, and show that (un?)surprisingly, approaching syntax from this semantic angle ends up deriving us something like a Cinque structure after all.

 

28.04.2005 :: Anna Shestakova
'Sensory intelligence' in the auditory cortex:
Brain responses to native and non-native phonetic stimuli

Recently, using the mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related potential (ERP), and its magnetic counterpart MMNm, a major breakthrough was made in discovering mechanisms specific to the processing of speech sounds, and especially those characteristic of one's mother-tongue. According to the MMN theory, after some repetition each sound develops a neural representation corresponding to the percept of this sound in the sensory memory. MMN data showed that the native-language phonetic prototypes evoked specific cerebral responses when compared to non-prototypes, thus postulating the existence of language-specific memory traces. Second-language acquisition seems to be dependent on recognition patterns for a newly acquired language, too. Recent MMN findings have suggested the existence of some higher cognitive processes in the sensory cortical areas than previously thought, such as the extraction of common invariant features shared by a number of acoustically varying sounds, and categorical speech perception guided by language-specific memory traces.

In this lecture, the brief overview of the language-specific MMN and MMNm findings will be given. The time course of the development of the second-language memory traces will be discussed in particular. In addition, the question how and where the information about phonemes could be encoded in the brain will be addressed. A part of this talk will be devoted to the idea of a phonotopic map which, according to some researchers, enables the human brain to selectively respond to each phoneme depending on its category. In other words, we will try to understand, how the representations of phoneme categories could be implemented in the human brain.

 

19.05.05 :: Oystein Nilsens
Cluster and Scope

I argue that the mechanism used by Brody and Szabolcsi (2002) to handle
Hungarian scope facts can be used to handle crossing scope dependencies between
adverbs and auxiliaries in Norwegian (Nilsen 2003):

(i) ...at Jens ikke alltid helt kunne ha hørt hva vi sa
...that J not always completely could have heard what we said
Scope: not>could>always:have>completely>heard

The same mechanism can be used to form "derived constituents" (Sportiche 2005).
I discuss some evidence that apparently DP-internal material can take scope
outside the containing DP which could be handled in this way.

Brody and Szabolcsi (2002) Overt scope in Hungarian. Syntax.
Nilsen (2003) Eliminating positions. Ph.D thesis, Utrecht.
Sportiche (2005) Division of labor between merge and move. Lingbuzz.

 

20.05.2005 :: Claudia Maienborn
Das Zustandspassiv: Kombinatorik - Interpretation - Schnittstellen

Die in den letzten Jahren geführte Kontroverse um die grammatische Einordnung des sog. Zustandspassivs ? analytische Verbform oder Kopula-Adjektiv-Konstruk­tion? ? kann mit den Beiträgen von Lenz (1994), Rapp (1997, 1998) und Kratzer (2000) als zugunsten der Kopula-Analyse entschieden betrachtet werden. Die Frage nach der Interpretation des Zustandspassivs und der Kombination mit bestimmten adverbalen Modifika­toren ist gleichwohl immer noch offen. Ich werde in dem Vortrag die These ent­wickeln, dass die prädikative Verwendung eines adjektivierten Partizips II (vulgo Zustandspassiv) ein (nahezu) frei verfügbares sprachliches Aus­drucks­mittel bietet für die spontane Konzeptualisierung beliebig komplexer Eigenschaften. Die Legitimation und Deutung solcher Ad hoc-Eigen­schaften im Kontext obliegt der Pragmatik. Die (Un)zulässigkeit adverbaler Modifikatoren folgt aus unabhängigen Annahmen. Die vorgeschlagene Analyse knüpft an neuere Entwicklungen in der Kogni­tions­psychologie zur Kategorienbildung an (Barsalou 2004) und zielt mit der stärkeren Einbeziehung der Pragmatik auf eine deutliche Entlastung und Vereinfachung von Lexikon und Grammatik.

 


09.06.2005 :: Arnim von Stechow
Kovertes Futur

Uninterpretierbare Merkmale werden in der Regel durch Operatoren/Funktoren mit den entsprechenden interpretierbaren Merkmalen über Kongruenz (Agree) lizensiert. Klassische Beispiele sind Negative Concord (NC) und Consecutio Temporum (SOT). Im Fall von NC lizensiert eine koverte (Russisch) oder eine overte (it. non) Negation mehrere morphologische Negationen, die semantisch leer sind (Zeijlstra). Morphologisches Tempus wird durch ein kovertes semantisches Tempus lizensiert, das in der Regel in demselben Satz ist. In SOT Sprachen kann ein semantisches Tempus auch morphologische Tempora in subordinierten Sätzen lizensieren, die dann jeweils semantisch leer sind. Dann beobachten wir SOT-Effekte (Deutsch). In Sprachen ohne SOT (Russisch/Japanisch) ist Multiple Agree syntaktisch blockiert. Im temporalen Bereich gibt es nun Fälle, in denen man einen koverten Operator annehmen muss, der kein morphologisches Merkmal lizensiert. Im Russischen kann man über einem Perfektiv stets ein kovertes Perfekt interpolieren, das semantisch interpretiert wird (Paslawska/Stechow). Ich denke, im Deutschen kann man unter Präsens und über einem Infinitiv stets ein kovertes Futur annehmen, das kein overtes morphologisches Merkmal lizensiert. Unter dieser Annahme kann ich die temporale Orientierung von Modalen korrekt behandeln. Ich entwickle Analysen der temporalen Orientierung von Modalen und Counterfactuals. Ich vergleiche diese mit neuen Vorschlägen zum Futur von Dorit Abusch und Cleo Condoravdi.

 

16.06.2005 :: Chris Kennedy
Vagueness and grammar: The semantics of relative and absolute gradable adjectives

This talk investigates the way that grammatical (lexical semantic) features of linguistic expressions influence vagueness, focusing on the interpretation of the positive (unmarked) form of gradable adjectives. I begin by developing a semantic analysis of the positive form of `relative' gradable adjectives, in which vagueness is a consequence of the truth conditions of the predicate, which require an object to possess a contextually significant degree of the relevant property. The analysis expands on previous proposals both in further motivating a semantic approach to the vagueness of the positive form and in precisely identifying and characterizing the division of labor between compositional and context dependent elements in its interpretation. I then introduce a challenge to the analysis from the class of `absolute' gradable adjectives: adjectives that are demonstrably gradable, but which have positive forms that relate objects to maximal or minimal degrees, and do not give rise to vagueness. I show that the distinction between relative and absolute adjectives can be explained in terms of the interaction of a lexical semantic feature of gradable adjectives --- their scale structures --- and a general constraint on interpretive economy that requires the meaning of a constituent to be computed strictly on the basis of the conventional meanings of its subconstituents to the extent possible, allowing for context dependent truth conditions only as a last resort. This talk investigates the way that grammatical (lexical semantic) features of linguistic expressions influence vagueness, focusing on the interpretation of the positive (unmarked) form of gradable adjectives. I begin by developing a semantic analysis of the positive form of `relative' gradable adjectives, in which vagueness is a consequence of the truth conditions of the predicate, which require an object to possess a contextually significant degree of the relevant property. The analysis expands on previous proposals both in further motivating a semantic approach to the vagueness of the positive form and in precisely identifying and characterizing the division of labor between compositional and context dependent elements in its interpretation. I then introduce a challenge to the analysis from the class of `absolute' gradable adjectives: adjectives that are demonstrably gradable, but which have positive forms that relate objects to maximal or minimal degrees, and do not give rise to vagueness. I show that the distinction between relative and absolute adjectives can be explained in terms of the interaction of a lexical semantic feature of gradable adjectives --- their scale structures --- and a general constraint on interpretive economy that requires the meaning of a constituent to be computed strictly on the basis of the conventional meanings of its subconstituents to the extent possible, allowing for context dependent truth conditions only as a last resort.

 

23.06.2005 :: Andrew McIntyre
Argument-structural patterns among Germanic particle verbs

I present a theory of the argument-structural properties of English and German particle verbs, including e.g. cases where particles disallow the verb's normal internal arguments (I sang (*a song) on), and cases where the underlying complement of the prepositional element surfaces as direct object: I wiped the plate off (cf. I wiped the dust off the plate). In such cases, the particle is often viewed as an ‘aspectual' operator, a conclusion which I attempt to refute, along with accounts blaming the effects on an unholy alliance between particles, telicity and transitivity. I derive the semantic and argument-structural effects from a syntax and semantics largely parallel to that of normal resultative constructions. If successful, the account offers an argument for a non-lexicalist syntax using meaningful light verbs and argument sharing devices sometimes used for e.g. resultative constructions.

 

30.06.2005 :: Rainer Osswald
Deverbal result nouns in German

Deverbal nouns like "Erfindung" ("invention"), "Blockierung" ("obstruction"), and "Enttäuschung" ("disappointment") can refer to the result of the action or event denoted by the respective base verb. This talk investigates the semantic properties of the verbs that give rise to deverbal nouns with result object or result state interpretation. In particular, I discuss the case where the deverbal noun denotes an "implicit" result object which cannot be realized syntactically with the verb and compare my analysis with others given in the literature, especially with that of Ehrich and Rapp (2000). The talk will also address some implications for the treatment of deverbal nouns in a semantically annotated computational lexicon as well as possible ways to support the analysis of result nouns by corpus studies.