SToRE member since 21.01.2016
The dissertation project investigates conceptual shifts in the count/mass domain of German nouns. Typically, nouns are divided in at least two distinct classes: Count nouns and mass noun, which not only experience different syntactic behavior, but are also thought to reflect the conceptual difference between individual (countable) objects and non-dividable (not countable) substances. However, many languages allow for shifts across countability classes by employing a conceptual re-analysis of e.g. a substance towards an object. Most intuitive examples include utterances in restaurant contexts, such as “We’ll have two beers.” where the noun beer refers to individual portions, rather than to the substance.
By employing Frame Theory and collaborating with project C09 from the CRC 991, theoretically valid semantic approaches on countability will be refined and examined experimentally. Additionally to already completed corpus and sentence production studies, 3 experiments are planned which aim to gain new insights on the reaction of the language-comprehending brain to conceptual shifts by employing behavioral and electrophysiological measurements.
Beckmann, N. S., Indefrey, P. & Petersen, W. (submitted). Words count, but thoughts shift: A frame-based account to conceptual shifts in noun countability.
Beckmann, N. S. & Petersen, W. (2017). Counting thought – Exploring the cognitive reality of syntactic countability. 6th Conference on Meaning and Knowledge Representation, St. Petersburg, Russia: July, 4-6 2017