We are happy to announce a talk by Max Berthold (GU Frankfurt) in the Semantics Colloquium.

The talk will take place online. If you want to participate via zoom, please register via email to s.walter@em.uni-frankfurt.de.

Title: Nominal Aktionsarten

Date: February 10

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


Based on a convincing amount of semantic properties shared by verbal tense and the German temporal adjective damalig, I concluded in my last presentation that the adjective is a functional nominal tense. In this talk, I want to address what initially appear to be semantic differences between damalig and verbal tense. First, intuitions may suggest that damalig exhibits semantic restrictions with particular types of nouns such as die damalige Milch (‘the milk at the time‘). Second, German native speakers share the intuition that sentences such as Der damalige Taxifahrer sang die ganze Fahrt (‘The taxi driver at the time sang the whole ride) is odd in contexts in which damalig‘s reference time is close to the time of utterance (e.g., yesterday/last week). This behavior would be undesirable if we maintain the assumption that a nominal tense behaves like a verbal tense because verbal tense neither exhibits semantic restrictions with any verb classes nor distinguishes between particular event times. Instead, I will argue that the temporal properties of specific nouns are responsible for the oddness in the given examples. To account for this behavior, I propose to extend the idea of ‘Aktionsarten’ to the nominal domain which aims to shed light on the internal temporal constituency of a particular noun. I will report initial observations and raise questions that will have to be addressed to formalize this proposal.