Kretzschmar, Franziska and Brilmayer, Ingmar (2020). Zooming in on agentivity: Experimental studies of DO-clefts in German. Linguistics Vanguard, 6 (1). De Gruyter Mouton. ISSN 2199-174X

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Item Type: Journal Article
Translated abstract:
Despite the importance of the agent role for language grammar and processing, its definition and features are still controversially discussed in the literature on semantic roles. Moreover, diagnostic tests to dissociate agentive from non-agentive roles are typically applied with qualitative introspection data. We investigated whether quantitative acceptability ratings obtained with a well-established agentivity test, the DO-cleft, provide evidence for the feature-based prototype account of (Dowty, David R. 1991. Thematic proto- roles and argument selction. Language 67(3). 547–619) postulating that agentivity increases with the number of agentive features that a role subsumes. We used four different intransitive verb classes in German and collected acceptability judgements from non-expert native speakers of German. Our results show that sentence acceptability increases linearly with the number of agentive features and, hence, agentivity. Moreover, our findings confirm that sentience belongs to the group of proto-agent features. In summary, this suggests that a multidimensional account including a specific mechanism for role prototypicality (feature accumulation) successfully captures gradient acceptability clines. Quantitative acceptability estimates are a meaningful addition to linguistic theorizing.UNSPECIFIED
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Kretzschmar, Franziskakretzschmar@ids-mannheim.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Brilmayer, Ingmaringmar.brilmayer@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-463261
DOI: 10.1515/lingvan-2019-0069
Journal or Publication Title: Linguistics Vanguard
Volume: 6
Number: 1
Date: 2020
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
ISSN: 2199-174X
Language: English
Faculty: Collaborative Research Centers
Divisions: Collaborative Research Centers > CRC 1252: Prominence in Language > TP B07
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
semantic rolesUNSPECIFIED
acceptability judgementsUNSPECIFIED
role decompositionUNSPECIFIED
role prototypicalityUNSPECIFIED
Refereed: Yes


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