Position and Interpretation

Syntactic, Semantic and Information-Structural Constraints in Processing Adjuncts

The project (started in 11/2011) investigated adjuncts at the syntax-semantics interface from a processing perspective. The main aim of the project was to gain new insights into the dynamics of meaning constitution during incremental language processing. The project was concerned with one of the core questions of the B Area, namely how incremental semantic processing interacts with grammar and context. The goal for the last funding period was to establish an elaborate model of adjunct processing, underpinned by a broader empirical basis as well as compositional analyses of the phenomena under investigation. Based on our results from the second funding period, we argued for a two-stage model of adjunct processing with an early stage of compositional processing which is followed by a processing stage in which, e.g., information structural factors are evaluated. With regard to the first stage of compositional processing, we saw evidence for immediate as well as delayed composition. Our claim that these effects are due to properties of the involved processing domains were tested in the last funding period. With regard to the second processing phase, we focused on the role of context for immediate vs. delayed evaluation of information structural factors. Our model of adjunct processing is an important ingredient for the model of semantic processing developed within project Area B.

Term: 2011 - 2021


  • Gauza, H., Störzer, M. & Hörnig, R. (submitted). An evaluation of Sentence Fragment Arrangement as a method for determining linearization preferences.
  • Stolterfoht, B. (accepted). Adverbial modification and (not-)at-issue content. In A. Konietzko & S. Winkler (Eds.), Information Structure and Discourse in Generative Grammar: Mechanisms and Processes (SGG 146). Boston, MA/Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.
  • Stolterfoht, B., Frazier, L. & Clifton, C. (in revision). Adverb position and information structure in processing English.
  • Specht, L. & Stolterfoht, B. (2023). Processing word order variations with frame and sentence adjuncts in German: Syntactic and information-structural constraints. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 8(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.16995/glossa.8514
  • Specht, L. & Stolterfoht, B. (2022). Incrementality in the processing of adverbial order variations in German. In S. Featherston, R. Hörnig, A. Konietzko & S. von Wietersheim (Eds.), Proceedings of Linguistic Evidence 2020: Linguistic Theory Enriched by Experimental Data (pp. 135-151). Tübingen: University of Tübingen. http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-75911
  • Schäfer, M., Gauza, H. & Stolterfoht, B. (2021). Disentangling factors in the placement of manner adverbials in German: The effect of distributional similarity. Proceedings for the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2021) (pp. 390-396).
  • Schäfer, M. (2020). Distributional profiling and the semantics of modifier classes. In C. Pinon & L. Roussarie (Eds.), Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 13 (EISS 13) (pp. 139-166). Paris: CSSP. http://www.cssp.cnrs.fr/eiss13/eiss13_schaefer.pdf
  • De Kuthy, K. & Stolterfoht, B. (2019). Focus projection revisited: Pitch accent perception in German. In S. Featherston, R. Hörnig, S. von Wietersheim & S. Winkler (Eds.), Experiments in Focus. Information Structure and Semantic Processing (pp. 57-70). Berlin/Boston, MA: de Gruyter.
  • Stolterfoht, B., Gauza, H. & Störzer, M. (2019). Incrementality in processing complements and adjuncts: Construal revisited. In K. Carlson, C. Clifton, Jr. & J. Fodor (Eds.), Grammatical Approaches to Language Processing: Essays in Honor of Lyn Frazier. Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics 48 (pp. 225-240). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-01563-3_12
  • Gauza, H. (2018). Position und Verarbeitung VP-interner Adjunkte (Dissertation). Tübingen: TOBIAS-lib Publikationssystem. http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-20900
  • Störzer, M. & Stolterfoht, B. (2018). Is German discourse-configurational? Experimental evidence for a topic position. Glossa: A journal of general linguistics 3(1): 20, 1-24. http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.122
  • Störzer, M. (2017). Weshalb auf Mallorca wahrscheinlich alle Urlauber betrunken sind: Zur syntaktischen Position von Frameadverbialen und der Rolle der Informationsstruktur bei ihrer Verarbeitung (Dissertation). Tübingen: TOBIAS-lib Publikationssystem. http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-20900
  • Maienborn, C., Gese, H. & Stolterfoht, B. (2016). Adverbial modifiers in adjectival passives. Journal of Semantics 33(2), 299-358.
  • Stolterfoht, B. (2015). Ambiguity and sentence position: An experimental case study. In S. Winkler (Eds.), Ambiguity: Language and Communication (pp. 171-183). Berlin/New York, NY: De Gruyter.
  • Störzer, M. & Stolterfoht, B. (2013). Syntactic base positions for adjuncts? Psycholinguistic studies on frame and sentence adverbials. Questions and Answers in Linguistics 1(2), 57-72. http://www.ifa.uni.wroc.pl/linguistics/documents/QAL_2013_2_MS_BS.pdf
  • Bott, O., Featherston, S., Radó, J. & Stolterfoht, B. (2011). The application of experimental methods in semantics. In C. Maienborn, K. von Heusinger & P. Portner (Eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning (pp. 305-321).