DGfS 2016 | 24.-26.2.2016

38. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft

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AG 3: Agentivity and event structure: theoretical and experimental approaches

Markus Philipp, University of Cologne, Institute German Language and Literature I, Albertus Magnus Place, 50923 Cologne, 0049 221-4705236, markus.philipp@unikoeln.de

Beatrice Primus, University of Cologne, Institute German Language and Literature I, Albertus Magnus Place, 50923 Cologne, 0049 221-4703434, primus@uni-koeln.de


This DGfS-AG aims to bring together theoretical and experimental accounts of different concepts of agentivity and their influence on event interpretation. Events are usually identified by their spatio-temporal properties. However, the way participants are engaged in an event also plays a major role (e.g. Eckardt 2002). While the impact of the semantic property of an incremental theme (or patient) on event interpretation has been widely discussed (following e.g. Krifka 1998), the influence of the (possibly contextually driven) semantic properties of the agent or causer role on event interpretation is still understudied, particularly from an experimental perspective. We also have a poor understanding of the impact of different agentivity features (or entailments, e.g Dowty 1991) on event interpretation. Additionally, a related open question is to what extent event interpretation is semantically determined and/or pragmatically driven. Presentations on the following and related topics may contribute towards a clarification of the relationship between agentivity and event structure in this AG:

  • features of agentivity (volitionality, causation, etc.) in event interpretation
  • agentivity and point-of-view aspect (e.g. the progressive)
  • agentivity and non-culminating events
  • agent-oriented adverbial modification
  • agentivity and event interpretation in nominalizations

A primary focus lies on accounts that try to integrate experimental data and theoretical considerations with respect to agentivity in event interpretation. The AG will serve as a discussion forum for researchers from different fields such as theoretical syntax and semantics, psycho- and neurolinguistics at the syntax-semantics interface and experimental pragmatics.

Eckardt, Regine. 2002. Event semantics. In: Fritz Hamm & T. Ede Zimmermann (eds.). Semantics. Linguistische Berichte, Special Issue 10, 91-128.
Dowty, David R. 1991. Thematic proto-roles and argument selection. Language 67, 547-619.
Krifka, Manfred. 1998. The origins of telicity. In: Susan Rothstein (ed.). Events and grammar. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 197–235


Mittwoch, 24. Februar 2016
14:00 – 14:30

Welcome / Introduction

14:30 - 15:00Simon Kasper:
The perceptual and sociocultural foundations of agentivity in language
15:00 - 16:00Franziska Kretzschmar, Svenja Lüll, Phillip Alday, Ina Bornkessel-
Schlesewsky & Matthias Schlesewsky:
Actor prototypicality in the comprehension of intransitive clauses in German
16:00 - 16:30Kaffepause
16:30 - 17:00Valentina Apresjan:
Agentivity, control and semantic structure in Russian Causatives
17:00 - 18:00Fabienne Martin:
On atypical agents
18:00 - 18:30

Tim Graf, Markus Philipp, Beatrice Primus:

Agentivity and impersonal passives

Donnerstag, 25. Februar 2016
9:00 – 9:30Gianina Iordachioaia:  -entfällt krankheitsbedingt-
Agentivity and Eventivity in Psych Nominalizations
9:30 - 10:00Vasiliki Koukoulioti & Stavroula Stavrakaki:
The situation of aspect from the viewpoint of language pathology: a
comparison between stroke induced aphasia and semantic dementia
10:00 - 11:00

Stefan Hinterwimmer:

Experiencer Verbs as Indicators of Perspective-Taking

11:00 - 11:30Kaffeepause
11:30 - 12:00

Marta Donazzan & Lucia M. Tovena:
Agentive dispositions and causal responsibility: a case study

12:00 - 13:00

Robert D. Van Valin Jr.:

Agents, effectors and event structure

Freitag, 26. Februar 2016
11:30 – 12:00

Anke Lensch:

Agentivity in Nominalizations of Phrasal Verbs. On Passers-by and Winder-uppers

12:00 - 12:30Ekaterina Gabrovska & Wilhelm Geuder:
Agentivity and Force Exertion: the German Verb "schlagen"
12:30 - 13:00Hamida Demirdache, Angeliek van Hout, Jinhong Liu, Fabienne Martin
and Iris M. Strangmann:
Testing the Agent Control Hypothesis with non-culminating events.
Experimental evidence from Adult Dutch and Mandarin
13:00 - 13:30

Odelia Ahdout:

Psych Nominalizations in Hebrew

13:30 - 14:00

Final discussion (optional)