An Experimental Investigation of Agent Prototypicality and Agent Prominence in German

DSpace Repository


Dokumentart: ConferenceObject
Date: 2019-07-31
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
430 - Germanic languages; German
Keywords: Prototyp <Linguistik> , Agens , Thematische Relation
Other Keywords:
semantic roles
agent prototypicality
agent prominence
acceptability ratings
Order a printed copy: Print-on-Demand
Show full item record


We investigate whether prototypicality or prominence of semantic roles can account for role-related effects in sentence interpretation. We present two acceptability-rating experiments testing three different constructions: active, personal passive and DO-clefts involving the same type of transitive verbs that differ with respect to the agentive role features they select. Our results reveal that there is no cross-constructional advantage for prototypical roles (e.g., agents), hence disconfirming a central tenet of role prototypicality. Rather, acceptability clines depend on the construction under investigation, thereby highlighting different role features. This finding is in line with one core assumption of the prominence account stating that role features are flexibly highlighted depending on the discourse function of the respective construction.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)