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Too strong argument structures and (un-)prepared repair. The case of zu-excessives

  • We present zu-excessive structures like Otto ist zu schwer ‘Otto is too heavy’ as instantiations of comparatives that have been reflexivized. Comparatives express asymmetric relations between distinguished referents, but reflexivization identifies argument places (or reduces two argument places to one), leading to a Symmetrie relation. Reflexivization is thus in conflict with the asymmetry property of comparatives and leads to an intermediate semantic representation that is con- tradictory. Two experiments substantiate that zu-excessives share this property with privative adjective and animal-for-statue constructions that similarly give rise to contradictory semantics. The processing of any of the constructions mentioned yields a positivity in the event-related-potential signature characteristic of concep- tual reorganization; however, the observed positivity occurs earlier in the case of zu-excessives than in the other cases. We propose this difference is due to zu signalling the mandatory preparation for an ensuing repair rather than reflecting the repair Operation itself that involves manipulating the Standard of comparison, coded elsewhere in the String (if at all).

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Author:Patrick Brandt, Schumacher Petra B.
Parent Title (English):The syntax of argument structure. Empirical advancements and theoretical relevance
Series (Serial Number):Linguistische Arbeiten (581)
Publisher:de Gruyter
Place of publication:Berlin [u.a.]
Editor:Artemis Alexiadou, Elisabeth Sophia Maria Verhoeven
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2021
Date of Publication (online):2021/11/04
Publishing Institution:Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS)
Tag:comprehension; excessive; repair; standard
GND Keyword:Argument <Linguistik>; Argumentstruktur; Deutsch; Englisch; Korrektur; Verständlichkeit
First Page:13
Last Page:31
Supported by DFG to PBS (SCHU 2517/6-1)
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Kontrastive Linguistik
Program areas:G1: Beschreibung und Erschließung Grammatischen Wissens
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt