skip to content

Area B - Prominence in morpho-syntax and semantics

Projects in this area deal with prominence relations at the morphosyntax-semantics interface. Here verbal arguments are the prime examples of linguistic units susceptible to prominence relations of different kinds. For this reason, argument structure and argument structure alternations will be our first and main object of investigation.

Prominence asymmetries in this domain have been described by means of hierarchical orders at different levels of representation, i.e. the well-known Semantic Role Hierarchy, the Animacy Hierarchy, the Referentiality Hierarchy, and the Grammatical Relations Hierarchy. We will explore the possibility of whether and to what extent prominence relations pertaining to verbal arguments can productively be reanalysed by using more fine-grained distinctions than the ones usually used in these hierarchies.

Prominence relations between verbal arguments are not determined by a single prominence-lending property, for instance, by properties related to agentivity, animacy or subjecthood. Instead, they involve the dynamic interaction of a number of such properties that is dependent on the choice of construction and the discourse context. Also of interest are interactions of prominence related structures with non-linguistic cognitive factors such as visual attention.

Projects in research area B