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Abstract

This paper offers a frame-semantic account of some of the manifold phenomena that can be observed in motion expressions in typologically diverse languages. The core of the proposed approach is a basic locomotion frame complemented with a mechanism of profiling that operates on this frame. The locomotion frame provides a rich structure which features the pivotal elements beneficial for the semantic representation of different types of motion descriptions. The profiling mechanism allows one to select, deselect and augment elements of this frame structure, as well as to specify significant relations between distinct parts of the frame. With these means, the profiling mechanism facilitates fine-grained differentiations among motion verbs that considerably exceed the classic dichotomy of path and manner-of-motion verbs. The proposed theory is applied to different kinds of path and manner-of-motion verbs, including those typically found in path-dominant and manner-dominant languages, as well as in languages which exhibit a pronounced diversity of motion verbs lined up in serial verb constructions. The suggested frame-semantic analyses thus reveal intricate differentiations in a multifaceted linguistic domain.

Abstract

This work presents a study of mixed gender agreement in the case of hybrid nouns in Russian. Examination of a number of approaches which seek to account for the category “gender” shows that these approaches are problematic when trying to explain mixed gender agreement in hybrid nouns. It is proposed here that the multiple-layer DP-hypothesis by Zamparelli (1995 and subsequent work) is best suited to analyze the Russian data. However, this rests on the crucial assumption that Russian demonstratives can occupy multiple positions within the DP, something that must still be verified by future work.

Abstract

Clauses can show closest-conjunct agreement, where the verb agrees only with one conjunct of a conjoined subject, and not with the full conjoined subject. The aim of this study is to examine the properties of word order and closest-conjunct agreement in the Greek Septuagint to distinguish which of them are due to the native syntax of Koiné Greek, possibly influenced by contact with Hebrew, and which of them are the result of a biblical translation effect. Both VSO and closest-conjunct agreement in the case of postverbal subjects have been considered characteristics of Biblical Hebrew. VSO becomes a neutral word order for Koiné Greek, and Koiné Greek exhibits examples of closest-conjunct agreement as well. The present study shows that VSO is the neutral word order for various types of texts of Koiné Greek (biblical and non-biblical, translations and non-translations) and that closest-conjunct agreement is also present with similar characteristics in pre-Koiné Greek. All relevant characteristics reflect a type of a syntactic change in Greek related to the properties of the T domain, and evidenced not only in translations or Biblical Greek. However, the frequencies of word orders are indeed affected by the source language, and indirect translation effects are evident in the Greek Septuagint.

Abstract

Implicit causality of interpersonal transitive verbs (IC) pertains to preferences to attribute the cause of a given action to the subject or the object referent in active clauses. Causal attribution is operationalized as the probability of referential continuation in a subsequent explanatory clause. This paper presents an explorative investigation into the causal biases of action verbs, which in contrast to affective verbs have received less attention in IC research. We approach implicit causality as a discourse level phenomenon based on the textual level of discourse representation and enriched by conceptual knowledge. In study 1, we targeted IC effects of German action verbs (N = 52) in sentences containing causal, additive and adversative connectives. Results showed that IC based categories of subject-object-, and non-biasing predicates were clearly discernable in causal contexts only. In study 2, we examined effects of situational knowledge (physical affectedness & social acceptability) and affective appraisals (valence & arousal) represented in the conceptual structure of the verbs on the construal of causality biases and their interplay with immediate contextual information such as gender of referents. Results show that higher degrees of physical affectedness were associated with causal attribution to the object referent. This effect was modulated by the affective properties of the verbs. Our findings revealed the influence of physiological arousal, an affective dimension not considered in previous investigations of IC. Actions with a strong physical impact that were characterized by high arousal, e.g., kick, or tickle were more likely to be explained with reference to the subject. Participants also considered the available contextual information, as indicated by the significant interactions of gender information with arousal. Within the subsample of non-biasing verbs, higher estimates for social behavior increased probabilities of causal attributions to the subject.

Abstract

Singular nouns in the scope of a distributive operator have been shown to be treated as conceptually plural (). The source of this conceptual plurality is not fully clear. In particular, it is not known whether the concept of plurality associated with a singular noun originates from distributing over multiple objects or multiple events. In the present experiment, iterative expressions (distribution over events) were contrasted with collective and distributive sentences using a Stroop-like interference technique (; ). A trend in the data suggests that event distributivity does not elicit a plural interpretation of a grammatically singular noun, however the results were not statistically significant. Possible causes of the non-significant results are discussed.

Abstract

This paper is an introductory investigation, comparing the intonation of Persian declaratives in read and spontaneous speech styles. The results indicate that 32% of the 254 spontaneous declaratives studied show one or more of the following intonational differences: a high or downstepped high tone at Intonational Phrase end, marking the incompleteness of the message; the existence of more pauses leading to a greater number of Intonational Phrases, pre-pause vowel lengthening, and pitch reset; a flatter contour and less pitch variation caused by a speaker’s boredom or givenness of the information content; an initial high boundary tone resulted from a low degree of assertiveness.