Sailer at Modification of Complex Predicates, Düsseldorf

Manfred Sailer gave an invited talk at the workshop on Modification of Complex Predicates, Düsseldorf, 23.&24.5.2019. The workshop was organized jointly by a number of projects of the SFB 991: The structure of representations in language, cognition, and science.

Düsseldorf, May 2019 (Photo: M. Sailer,  BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The workshop organizers, Curtis Anderson, Timm Lichte, and Jens Fleischhauer aimed at bringing together researchers on various kinds of complex predicates and at jointly discussing to which extend modification data can help shed light on the properties of complex predicates. The 10 workshop presentations illuminated exactly these aspects using different types of data and analytical tools. In his own talk, Manfred looked at modified kinegrams as in (1).

(1) Alex pricked her big ears.
listen-idiom(alex) ∧ FIG(big(x))

Manfred argues that the kinegram prick one’s ears is interpreted idiomatically as listen. The body part expression, one’s ears, can be ignored for the purely idiomatic reading, though its uniqueness is taken for granted. Once it is modified, however, the existence of ears and cannot be ignored. We then find a continution that is similar to other cases of non-at-issue modification. Manfred provides a direct link to work by with Jamie Findlay & Sascha Bargmann, where they introduce a figurativity Oprator, FIG, to model extended uses of idioms.