On the Typology of the Psych-Alternation: Morphology, Syntax, and Discourse

The overall aim of this project is to determine the universal and typological properties of the syntax and semantics of experiencer verbs based on precise empirical methods. In the first funding period, the project has focused on the cross-linguistic experimental and observational investigation of selected non-canonical experiencer-object properties (= psych-effects) examining their syntactic vs. pragmatic nature. In the next period, the focus will be on the typology of the psych-alternation (cf. interessieren (concern) vs. sich interessieren (be concerned)). In particular, the project will investigate the role of the morphological root of psych verbs and the syntactic and semantic properties of the morphological processes that occur in cases of psych-alternations (causativization, decausativization, conversion, double derivation).
In a typological investigation, the project will collect and analyze the relevant morphological facts of experiencer verbs in 30 languages. This cross-linguistic examination will be the evidential basis for a typologically adequate theory of experiencers. Furthermore, the project will investigate the relevance of the morphological differences between languages quantitatively (a) for the semantics and syntax of psych verbs and (b) for the realization of experiencer events in discourse.
In a sample of six languages, which represent different morphological types of the causative alternation (Icelandic, Finnish, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, Hungarian), the project will carry out parallel experiments and corpus studies. The experimental studies will examine semantic and syntactic properties of the experiencer verbs. The influence of these properties on the behavior of the respective verbal constructions in discourse will be tested in quantitative corpus studies.
The project contributes to the current theoretical discussion on the causative alternation and will enrich this line of research with insights from a sample of languages that exceeds the currently discussed ones both in number and diversity. Furthermore, the project will make a significant contribution to lexical typology and the cross-linguistic investigation of the directionality in transitivization/detransitivization (Nichols et al. 2004) by examining the potential influence of typological variables on the cross-linguistic distinction at issue. Finally, the project will make an innovative contribution to the contemporary paradigm of cross-linguistic corpus investigations.

Principal Investigators
Verhoeven, Elisabeth Prof. Dr. (Details) (General and Germanistic Linguistics: Syntax)

Duration of Project
Start date: 05/2016
End date: 07/2019

Research Areas
General and Comparative Linguistics, Typology, Non-European Languages

Research Areas
Diskurs, Semantik, Syntax, Typologie

Rott, Julian & Verhoeven, Elisabeth. 2019. Tiers for fears and other emotions. A crosslinguistic approach to psych lexis and syntax. In Linguistic Evidence 2018 Online Proceedings. Tübingen: Universität Tübingen.
Elisabeth Verhoeven. 2018. Animacy shift and layers of nominal structure. Theoretical Linguistics 44(1-2):99-106.
Verhoeven, Elisabeth. 2017. Features or scales in verb meaning? Verb classes as predictors of syntactic behaviour. L. de Cuypere, C. Vanderschueren, G. De Sutter (eds.) Current trends in analyzing syntactic variation. Belgian Journal of Linguistics, 31:164-193.
Verhoeven, Elisabeth & Anne Temme. 2017. Word order acceptability and word order choice. In Featherston, S., Hörnig, R., Steinberg, R., Umbreit, B., Wallis, J. (eds.) Linguistic Evidence 2016 Online Proceedings. Tübingen: Universität Tübingen.
Temme, Anne & Elisabeth Verhoeven. 2017. Backward binding as a psych effect: A binding illusion? Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 36.2. 279-308.
Rott, Julian Andrej. 2016. Germanic Psych Processing. Evidence for the status of dative Experiencers in Icelandic and German. In Stolz, C. & Stolz, T. (eds.), From Africa via the Americas to Iceland. Studies on reduplication and experiencers (= Diversitas Linguarum 40), 215-320. Bochum: Universitätsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer.

Last updated on 2020-17-08 at 18:13