The interaction between the syntactic position and the interpretation of adverbials in German clauses has been the subject of a recent debate. Typically, a hierarchy of adverbial classes is proposed. Order constraints between elements of different adverbial classes, as well as between adverbials and arguments are then derived from the membership in the adverbial classes. Alternative proposals attribute adverbial positioning solely to semantic constraints imposed by the adverbials on the phrases they modify.
We ascribe the various discrepancies found in this debate to two factors: a general definitional deficiency and the empirical base of many proposals.
The project addresses the divergencies in a set of experiments targeting an empirically adequate theory of the interaction between position and interpretation of event-external, event-internal, and process-related adverbials. The test items are systematically derived from semantically annotated corpus data (“modified stimulus composition”).
The focus of the first funding period (KI 759/8-1) was on analyzing adverbial PPs. The respective results indicate that order preferences originate in an interaction of adverbial-specific and global constraints.
In the current funding period (KI 759/8-2), we aim at extending the multifactorial account to adverbial syntax, taking further additional adverbial types as well as further realization forms like adverbial adjectives and adverbs into account.

Key Publications

Börner, Alicia Katharina, Jutta Pieper & Tibor Kiss. 2021. The syntactic behaviour of event-external adverbial PPs in German. Talk, Workshop Theoretical and Experimental Approaches to Modification (28.-30. 01. 2021, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen) Tübingen, Germany.

Börner, Alicia, Katharina, Jutta Pieper & Tibor Kiss. 2020. The syntax of event-internal adverbial PPs. Poster presentation, Linguistic Evidence 2020 (13.-15. 02. 2020, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen). Tübingen, Germany.

Börner, Alicia Katharina, Jutta Pieper & Tibor Kiss. 2019. Corpus data in experimental linguistics. In Gattnar, Anja, Robin Hörnig & Melanie Störzer (Eds.). Online Proceedings of Linguistic Evidence 2018, Universität Tübingen, Germany,

Börner, Alicia Katharina, Jutta Pieper & Tibor Kiss. 2019. The syntactic behavior of event-internal adverbial PPs. Talk, 45. Generative Grammatik des Südens (19.-21. 07. 2019, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt). Frankfurt Main, Germany.