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An experimental investigation of agent prototypicality and agent prominence in German

  • We investigate whether prototypicality or prominence of semantic roles can account for role-related effects in sentence interpretation. We present two acceptability-rating experiments testing three different constructions: active, personal passive and DO-clefts involving the same type of transitive verbs that differ with respect to the agentive role features they select. Our results reveal that there is no cross-constructional advantage for prototypical roles (e.g., agents), hence disconfirming a central tenet of role prototypicality. Rather, acceptability clines depend on the construction under investigation, thereby highlighting different role features. This finding is in line with one core assumption of the prominence account stating that role features are flexibly highlighted depending on the discourse function of the respective construction.

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Author:Franziska KretzschmarGND, Tim Graf, Markus PhilippGND, Beatrice PrimusORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Proceedings of linguistic evidence 2018: experimental data drives linguistic theory
Publisher:University of Tübingen
Place of publication:Tübingen
Editor:Anja Gattnar, Robin Hörnig, Melanie Störzer, Sam Featherston
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Year of first Publication:2019
Date of Publication (online):2020/12/16
Tag:acceptability ratings; agent prominence; agent prototypicality; semantic roles
GND Keyword:Agens; Prototyp <Linguistik>; Thematische Relation; Transitives Verb
First Page:101
Last Page:123
Appendix mit Seitenzahlen I-XIII.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 430 Deutsch
Open Access?:ja
Linguistics-Classification:Psycholinguistik / Kognitive Linguistik
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt