Natascha Elxnath

Proceedings opened: 29 April 2022
Dissertation colloquium: 16 November 2022

Biographical Information

  • Since 11/2018: Research Assistant and PhD Student at the Research Training Group 1808: “Ambiguity – Production and Perception“ at the University of Tübingen
  • 10/2018: First State Examination in German and English (with distinction)
  • 04/2017-10/2018: Scholarship Scheme: Cusanuswerk / Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
  • 04/2014-10/2018: Studied German and English Linguistics and Literature (teaching degree) at the University of Tübingen and the University of Nottingham



  • Lexical Semantics
  • Compound Processing
  • Word Formation
  • Metaphors
  • Ambiguity


Abstract: “On the Production and Perception of (Novel) Noun + Deverbal Noun Compounds“ (working title)

The relation between the constituents of a compound is not specified (Schlücker 2012: 14). Thus, compounds are ambiguous phenomena. While speakers do not need to interpret lexicalised compounds (as the respective meanings are already stored in the mental lexicon), interpreting novel compounds can be a difficult challenge. Within the field of psycholinguistics, there is an ongoing discussion on how exactly speakers manage to arrive at the intended meaning of a novel compound (for an overview, see for instance Gagné 2009). The aim of this project is to explore possible relations and systematic restrictions for the interpretation of novel compounds in order to gain a deeper insight into the process of ambiguity resolution while focusing on one particular compound type: noun + deverbal noun compounds. Basically, speakers can interpret such compounds in two different ways (Schlücker 2012: 7-8). The synthetic reading requires that the first constituent is understood as an argument of the second constituent’s basic verb (example: shoe seller), whereas the root reading is not based on argument structure (example: street seller). In an earlier project, I already observed that German speakers have a strong preference for the synthetic reading when no context is given. Now, I plan to investigate whether this preference affects interpretation in context and whether there is a similarly strong preference in production. Furthermore, I am interested in the function of these compounds from the perspective of text linguistics.


Gagné, Christina L. (2009): Psycholinguistic Perspectives. In: Rochelle Lieber and Pavol Štekauer (Eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Compounding. Oxford: Oxford UP. 255-271.

Schlücker, Barbara (2012): Die deutsche Kompositionsfreudigkeit. Übersicht und Einführung. In: Livio Gaeta and Barbara Schlücker (eds.): Das Deutsche als kompositionsfreudige Sprache. Strukturelle Eigenschaften und systembezogene Aspekte. Berlin und Boston: De Gruyter. 1-25.



  • Winter Term 2020/21
    Graduate Seminar: Korpuslinguistik für den Sprachvergleich Deutsch-Englisch (with Lorenz Geiger)
  • Winter Term 2019/20
  • Graduate Seminar: Metaphern in korpuslinguistischen Untersuchungen (with Sarah Metzger)
    Geisteswissenschaftliches Schülerlabor Linguistik 2019 (with Maria Averintseva-Klisch)
  • Geisteswissenschaftliches Schülerlabor Linguistik 2020 (with Maria Averintseva-Klisch)


Workshop (Organization)

  • Workshop "Metaphor and Ambiguity Analysis (MAmbA)", Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, 26. und 27. März 2021. (mit Sarah Metzger)


Papers and Posters

  • paper: "Kunstmantel vs. Stimmungskiller. What Makes a Good Compound Metaphor?" Workshop "Metaphor and Ambiguity Analysis (MAmbA)", Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, 26. und 27. March 2021.
  • paper: "On the Interpretation of German A-V-er-Constructions and the Notion of Concepts". DGfS-Jahrestagung, AG 3: The Semantics of Derivational Morphology: Theory, Methods, Evidence; Universität Freiburg, 24.-26. Februar 2021.
  • Poster: What Makes a "Killer" Different from a "Mörder"? Analysing Metaphorically Used Anglicisms in German. 13th Conference of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM 2020 Virtual), Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in Hamar, 18-21 June 2020.
    Received the Best Poster Prize
  • Poster: How to FIll in the Information Gaps within Noun and Deverbal Noun Compounds. Workshop "Ambiguity as (Information) Gaps. Processes of Creation and Resolution", Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, 16 and 17 November 2018.



  • Faculty Award for Linguistics (2018), Eberhard Karls University Tübingen