SFB 441 Project B18 (2006 - 2009)

Grammar and Pragmatics of the Adjectival Passive

Publications within the scope of project B18.

 

Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Claudia Maienborn
German Department
Universität Tübingen
Wilhelmstraße 50
72074 Tübingen
Tel.: +49 7071 29-78445
Fax: +49 7071 29-5760
Office: Andrea Berger; Tel: +49 7071 29-74269
E-Mail: claudia.maienbornspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de
WWW: Homepage

 

Members of Staff

Dr. Britta Stolterfoht
SFB 441
Universität Tübingen
Nauklerstraße 35, Raum 2.11
72074 Tübingen
Tel.: +49/7071/29-77150
Fax: +49/7071/29-5830
E-Mail: britta.stolterfohtspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de
Helga Gese
SFB 441
Universität Tübingen
Nauklerstraße 35, Raum 2.11
72074 Tübingen
Tel.: +49/7071/29-77150
Fax: +49/7071/29-5830
E-Mail: helga.gesespam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de
 

Student Assistant for Corpus Linguistics:

Simone Alex
 
 

Research Assistant for Psycholinguistics:

Nadja Choeb
 
 

Consulting Colleagues:

Dr. Doreen Bryant
E-Mail: doreen.bryantspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de
Maria Averintseva, M.A. E-Mail: maria.averintsevaspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de
Sebastian Bücking E-Mail: sebastian.bueckingspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

 

Objective

The project investigates the meaning constitution of the German adjectival passive. The central aim is to analyze the underlying lexical, grammatical, conceptual, and pragmatic conditions of the adjectival passive and to reconstruct their interrelations in a theoretically and empirically well motivated model which takes into account different kinds of data types (corpus data, experimental data, introspective data).

The major claim of the project is that the role pragmatics plays in the meaning constitution of adjectival passive constructions is more significant than previously assumed and that the role of the lexicon and grammar is thus to be reduced accordingly.

The starting point of our investigation is the working hypothesis that the so called adjectival passive is a combination of a copula plus an adjectivized verbal participle by which an ad hoc property is ascribed to the referent of the subject term. While the grammar imposes only few constraints on the construction; the task of legitimating and interpreting such an ad hoc property in context is basically the task of pragmatics.

By referring to the notion of ad hoc properties, the project takes up recent developments in cognitive psychology with the aim of applying Lawrence Barsalou's theory of mental representations to linguistic analysis. The major goal of the project is the formulation of new insights into the interrelationship of grammar, pragmatics and cognition. In our view, the category change (verb to adjective) that is characteristic for the adjectival passive and its contextual and conceptual conditions constitute a particularly insightful and scarcely investigated field of exploration for this kind of interrelation.