Perspektivierung im Text -- Interpretation und Verarbeitung
Perspectivization in text -- Interpretation and processing
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Language possesses the capacity to express many different perspectives. As a general principle, the interpreter takes the speaker of an utterance to be the perspective-holder of the content that it conveys. This presumption of a speaker-default (Potts, 2005) seems to be a valid strategy as it frequently results in adequate interpretations. However, productive exceptions to this rule exist, as demonstrated in (1). Although the object pronoun me picks out the speaker, the perspective-sensitive content of friggin’ seems to anchor to Monty as its perspective-holder.
(1) [Context: We know that Bob loves to do yard work and is very proud of
his lawn, but also that he has a son Monty who hates to do yard chores.
So Bob could say (perhaps in response to his partner’s suggestion that
Monty be asked to mow the lawn while he is away on business):]
Well, in fact Monty said to me this very morning that he hates to mow
the friggin’ lawn.
(Amaral, Roberts, and Smith, 2007, p. 736, (28))
As the aforementioned example illustrates, natural languages seem to provide expressions that are capable of indicating a shift in perspective away from the speaker and toward another discourse entity. These expressions are called perspective-sensitive items (Bylinina, McCready, and Sudo, 2014, 2015). Partee (1989) initially introduced the phenomenon of perspective-sensitivity as a special case of context-sensitivity. This phenomenon and the heterogeneous class of perspective-sensitive expressions remain relatively poorly understood.
This dissertation aims to provide deeper experiment-based insights into the mechanisms of linguistically caused perspective-taking and -shifting, which are induced by perspective-sensitive expressions. It systematically investigates several representatives of perspective-sensitive expressions (i. e., relative-locative expressions, predicates of personal taste, epithets, epistemic adverbials and particles) depending on various contextual factors (e. g., free indirect discourse, attitude verbs, counteridenticals). The experiments employ off-line as well as on-line methods; hence, the presented data offer evidence both on the final interpretation and the processing of texts involving perspective-sensitive expressions.
The thesis presents empirical evidence of perspective-sensitive expressions and their interaction with information offered by the context, and such evidence is highly necessary. This dissertation enhances the understanding of the guiding mechanisms involved in perspective-dependent interpretations. It also contributes relevant data for the soughtafter long-term goal of a formal representation of the class of perspective-sensitive expressions. Therefore, the presented multi-faceted experimental data and the conclusions drawn based on these findings provide significant contributions for future research on linguistically expressed perspectivization.