Principal investigator

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Verhoeven

Research assistants

Julian A. Rott

Paola A. Fritz-Huechante

Student assistant

Jette Fortmann

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Experiencers across languages

This project tackles the various phenomena surrounding psychological predicates, our main goal being the investigation of their syntactic and semantic behavior on a sound empirical, cross-linguistic basis. In the current funding period, we are conducting a broad scale study on the typology of the psych-alternation. See here for the results of the previous project stage.


1. International Workshop on „Language Comparison and Typology: German and the Mediterranean Languages“, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
12th October 2018
Morphological markedness in discourse: A cross-linguistic corpus study.  by Elisabeth Verhoeven.
Modelling Spanish Psych Verbs in HPSG: Word order, Case, Theta-Roles and Eventuality Structure (poster)  by Paola Fritz-Huechante & Antonio Machicao y Priemer.

Syntax of the World's Languages VIII, Paris
3rd–5th September 2018
A cross-linguistic perspective on the interaction of predicate structure, valence orientation and canonicity in psych expressions  by Julian A. Rott, Elisabeth Verhoeven & Paola Fritz-Huechante.

51st Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE 2018), Tallinn
29th Aug – 1st Sept 2018
Psych epiphenomena. A typology of the interplay of valence orientation and syntactic canonicity  by Julian A. Rott, Elisabeth Verhoeven & Paola Fritz-Huechante.

25th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG 2018), University of Tokyo, Japan
30th June – 2nd July 2018
Unmarked word order in Korean and Spanish psych-verbs: Interaction of case, theta-roles, and event structures in HPSG  by Antonio Machicao y Priemer & Paola Fritz-Huechante.

5th European Workshop on HPSG (EW-HPSG 2018), Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt
1st-2nd June 2018
Unmarked word order in the psych domain: Contrasting Spanish and Korean  by Antonio Machicao y Priemer & Paola Fritz-Huechante.

Datives vs. accusatives, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
24th May 2018
A cross-linguistic experiment on object fronting. Berlin Dative Days  by Elisabeth Verhoeven.

Seminar, Centre de Lingüística Teòrica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
9th March 2018
Morphological directionality and event structure of the psych-alternation: the case of Spanish, Korean and Finnish   by Paola Fritz-Huechante. Joint work with Elisabeth Verhoeven & Julian A. Rott.

Linguistic Evidence 2018, Universität Tübingen
17th February 2018
A cross-linguistic empirical approach to emotion lexis and syntax  by Julian A. Rott, Elisabeth Verhoeven & Paola Fritz-Huechante. More information here.

Argument Structure across Modalities (ASAM) 2018, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, NL
1st-2nd February 2018
Structural effects of morphological directionality in psych verbs. A typology.  by Julian A. Rott, Elisabeth Verhoeven & Paola Fritz-Huechante. More information here.

Endpoints, scales, and results in the decomposition of verbal predicates (ENDPOINTS 2018), Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin
30th-31st January 2018
Inchoative states, gradable states and (anti-)causativization in the psych domain: the cases of Spanish and Korean  by Paola Fritz-Huechante, Elisabeth Verhoeven & Julian A. Rott. More information here.

Workshop on Linguistic Variation at the Interfaces (VARINT) 2017, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
16th-17th November 2017
What does take to culminate? Morphological directionality and semantics of the psych-alternation  by Paola Fritz-Huechante, Elisabeth Verhoeven & Julian A. Rott. More information here.

Labex EFL, Paris 3 & CNRS, Lecture series
5th, 11th, 18th, 25th September 2017
Cross-linguistic investigation of argument structure: experimental and observational research  by Elisabeth Verhoeven. Mehr Informationen finden Sie hier.

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In the current project stage, the role of the morphological root of psych verbs and the syntactic and semantic properties of the morphological processes that occur in cases of psych-alternation (for instance causativization and decausativization, conversion, double derivation) will be investigated empirically via typologically adequate and methodologically variegated data collection and analyses.


Belgian Journal of Linguistics
Features or scales in verb meaning? Verb classes as predictors of syntactic behaviour

Linguistic Evidence Online Proceedings
Word order acceptability and word order choice

Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft
Backward binding as a psych effect: A binding illusion?


Experiencers and the predicates that select for them (e.g. fascinate, please) are a major focus in theoretical linguistics, as they show effects that differ markedly from the regular behavior of canonical verb structures (as in e.g. hit), making them a touchstone for models of language of various persuasions.