We are happy to announce talks by Narjes Eskandarnia and Kim Tien Nguyen (Frankfurt) in the Semantics Colloquium.

The talk will take place on campus in IG 4.301.
If you wish to participate virtually via Zoom, please contact Lennart Fritzsche for the link.

Date: November 30, 2023

Time: 4 pm – 6 pm ct


Narjes Eskandarnia

Title: Ideophones and Reduplication in Persian: An Exploration of the Dingemanse Hierarchy and Linguistic Creativity

The Present thesis explores the properties of Persian ideophones, explicitly focusing on their reduplication patterns and adherence to the Dingemanse Hierarchy. The study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of reduplication in creating ideophones and to investigate the extent to which Persian ideophones align with the hierarchical framework proposed by Dingemanse.

The methodology employed in this research is a corpus linguistics approach. Accordingly, a corpus of approximately 300 ideophones and reduplicated words were collected from diverse sources, ensuring a comprehensive representation across different contexts. A table was created to categorize the ideophones, along with translations, transcriptions, part-of-speech categorization, and one illustrative example for some of them. The ideophones were categorized based on the degree of iconicity. Additionally, separate tables were created to categorize the different types of reduplication, including full and partial forms.

The selected corpus was analyzed to answer the research questions, which are: „1) What are the different types of reduplication in the Persian language, and how are they used to create ideophones? 2) What is the extent of alignment and adherence of Persian ideophones with the Dingemanse Hierarchy?“. To Maintain this goal, the corpus linguistic analytical methods identified the patterns and trends in the usage of reduplication in Persian ideophones. The investigation explored how reduplication contributes to the formation and intensification of ideophones in Persian. Furthermore, the adherence of Persian ideophones to the Dingemanse Hierarchy was examined to determine the presence of a systematic relationship between ideophone types and their position in the hierarchy.

The analysis results provide insights into the various types of reduplication in Persian, their usage within ideophones, and their adherence to the Dingemanse Hierarchy. The findings contribute to understanding the linguistic characteristics of Persian ideophones and their expressive potential. Additionally, the study discusses the linguistic creativity exhibited in Persian ideophones.

The significance of this research lies in shedding light on the unique features of Persian ideophones, their connection to reduplication, and their conformity to the Dingemanse Hierarchy. This investigation adds to the knowledge of ideophones and reduplication in Persian. However, it is essential to note the study’s limitations and suggest future research in this domain.

In summary, this thesis comprehensively analyses Persian ideophones, their reduplication patterns, and their adherence to the Dingemanse Hierarchy. The findings enhance understanding of the linguistic properties of Persian ideophones and contribute to the broader field of language typology and phonosemantics.


Kim Tien Nguyen

Title: An empirical study on the wide scope of topical singular indefinites in German

Scope ambiguity is a classic phenomenon in formal semantics that has been investigated both theoretically and empirically in many languages. For German – a language with canonical S > O order that allows object fronting, a number of theories have been postulated regarding the constraints on the availability of object wide scope. Among them is Endriss’ (2009) hypothesis that indefinites take wide scope when they are marked as sentence topics. The present study aims to test this theory by means of a forced-choice sentence continuation task. The results showed significant effects of sentence structure and intonation as independent topic marking devices that make indefinite object wide scope more available or even preferred in German sentences with scope ambiguity. With this study, I hence provide empirical evidence highlighting the pragmatic influence of information structure on scope interpretation. In order to account for the observed graded scope preferences, I propose a reanalysis of the effect of topicality on scope disambiguation grounded in probabilistic language understanding.