Welcome to the website of the workshop Polysemy and coercion of clause-embedding predicates. This workshop is part of the 39th Annual Meeting of the DGfS (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), which takes place from March 8-10, 2017, at Saarland University, Saarbrücken (Germany).

The workshop is organized by Marie-Luise Popp and Barbara Stiebels (University of Leipzig).

Workshop description

Unlike typical Standard Average European languages such as German or English, many under-researched languages display only a small inventory of clause-embedding (or “complement-taking”) predicates (CEPs), with the consequence that many of these predicates are highly polysemous or vague (e.g., nɔrkatɛ (Lonwolwol; Paton 1973): ‘grasp, believe, trust, remember etc.’). But even in languages with a richer inventory of CEPs, polysemy appears in many facets (e.g., English tell ‘narrate, order, inform’ or Spanish esperar ‘hope, wish, expect, demand’). The polysemy of the predicates may influence their complementation patterns (e.g., know that vs. know how to): often, only polysemous CEPs show the full range of the language-specific complementation patterns, with close associations of complementation types and specific readings of the polysemous CEP. Other distributional properties are also affected by polysemy, for instance: (a) the dual use of ‘begin’, ‘start’, ‘stop’, ‘promise’, ‘threaten’ and possibly other predicates as raising and control predicates; (b) the restriction of NEG-raising with Spanish esperar to its ‘expect’ reading (Popp 2016); (c) the reading-specific selection of mood/modality in the embedded clause (Spanish sentir: ‘feel’ with indicative, ‘regret’ with subjunctive).

Predicates that do not exhibit clausal arguments in their base entry may be turned into CEPs, e.g., verbs of sound emission (shriekshriek that ...). Here, notions such as “coercion” (Pustejovsky 1995, Asher 2011), “lexical subordination” (Levin and Rapoport 1988) or “conflation” (Talmy 1985) may be brought into play. The syntactic flexibility of restricted CEPs can also be enhanced by coercion (e.g., the factive German CEP bedauern ‘regret’ may be used parenthetically if interpreted as ‘utter with regret’).

Invited speaker: Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten (Simon Fraser University)

The workshop is meant as discussion forum for researchers from different backgrounds (especially semantics, lexical typology, corpus/computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, historical linguistics and lexicology/lexicography).

Asher, Nicholas. 2011. Lexical meaning in context: A web of words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levin, Beth and Tova R. Rapoport. 1988. Lexical subordination. Proceedings of the 24th Annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS). 275-289.
Popp, Marie-Luise. 2016. NEG-raising in cross-linguistic perspective. MA thesis, University of Leipzig
Pustejovsky, James. 1995. The generative lexicon. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Talmy, Leonard. 1985. Lexicalization patterns: Semantic structure in lexical forms. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description: Grammatical categories and the lexicon. Volume 3. 57–149. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.