Marion Jäger (neé Knecht)

Marion KnechtProceedings opened: 19 December 2017

Dissertation colloquium: 13. July 2018


Biographical information

  • 2007 – 2011: Bachelor of Arts in General Linguistics and English, University of Tübingen;
  • 2009: Semester abroad at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa
  • 2011 – 2013: Master of Arts in General Linguistics, University of Tübingen;
  • 2010 – 2013: Research assistant in Projekt B5 ”The syntax and semantics of reorganized language“, SFB 833, University of Tübingen
  • Since 2013: Ph.D. student in project A7 “Focus Constructions and Freezing“, SFB 833, University of Tübingen; associated with the GRK 1808: Ambiguity - Production and Perception


Research interests

  • Syntax
  • Focus particles
  • Information Structure
  • Neuro- and Psycholinguistics
  • Language abilities of patients with pre- or perinatally acquired brain lesions
  • Language acquisition



"Focus Particles and Extraction: An Experimental Investigation of German and English Focus Particles in Constructions with Leftward Association"

I’m working on the syntactic features of German and English focus particles. Focus particles are words like only, even and also which are invariable in form and highlight certain parts of a sentence. I focus on the question whether extraction out of the domain of focus particles is possible and whether focus particles can associate with extracted material.

Sentences with focus particles are often ambiguous. The example in (1) has different meanings which can be distinguished from each other by means of intonation in spoken language. The focus particle only can, e.g., associate with Kim’s tank which leads to the interpretation given in (1a). Moreover, only can also associate with clownfish which leads to the interpretation given in (1b).

(1) I said that I only stock Kim’s tank with clownfish.

a. ‘I said I stock Kim’s and no other tank with clownfish.’

b. ‘I said I stock Kim’s tank with clownfish and nothing else.’

(Beaver & Clark 2003, p. 344)

If Kim’s tank is extracted out of the relative clause and moved to the beginning of the sentence, only can still associate with clownfish, but can no longer associate with Kim’s tank. Therefore, the meaning in (2a) is no longer possible.

(2) I said I only stock with clownfish.’

a. *‘I said I stock Kim’s and no other tank with clownfish.’

b. ‘I said I stock Kim’s tank with clownfish and nothing else’.

(Beaver & Clark 2003, p. 345)

Beaver & Clark (2003) claim that this observation also holds for other languages and that nur (‘only’) in German cannot associate with extracted material either.

I want to analyze whether there are differences between various focus particles with respect to extraction and whether certain contexts make it possible for some focus particles to associate with extracted elements.

For further information, please click here.