my project

Title: Information Structure in DPs -
The Syntax/Information Structure Interface in DPs: Internal Syntactic Properties and their Informational Correlates

My research project is a cross-linguistic study on the internal structure and its information structural correlates in English and German Determiner Phrases (DP). The general framework is the minimalist syntax. The domain of inquiry is noun phrases in naturally occurring conversations in English and German. The project deals with a promising novelty in methodology using corpora as well as informant judgement techniques (discourse felicity judgement tasks). I'll extract data from the German and the English corpora and establish a range of patterns including the context of use. Findings in the corpora will be used as an inductive base upon which to find hypotheses about the syntax and function of DP-internal elements. It aims to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the interaction between syntax and both truth-conditional and informational meaning. I explore how the structure of DPs is used in particular contexts. Initial observations show that co-occurrence restrictions between syntactic elements in NPs appear to involve more than just the constituent structure of DPs. Information structural phenomena also play a role and this raises the problem of how this is captured theoretically. Major research questions are:

  1. What's the analysis of the internal syntactic properties and their information structural correlates in English and German DPs? How is focus realized in DPs? How is topic realized in DPs? What's the syntactic and semantic analysis of focus particles in DPs?
  2. What's the analysis and explanation of co-occurrence restrictions in DPs? E.g. why can possessives and non-restrictive relative clauses co-occur in German but not in English?
What's the analysis of the contrastive behaviour of arguments and adjuncts in DPs? In particular the contrastive behaviour of
(i) possessives and thematic arguments
(ii) thematic vs. non-thematic adjuncts
(iii) different types of possessives
(iv) different types of relative clauses



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