A Corpus-based Perspective on ‘Split Stimuli’ in German
Johanna Poppek, Simon Masloch, Tibor Kiss
January 2023

Experiencer-object verbs are psychological predicates that realise their stimulus argument as their subject in the canonical transitive pattern. In some sentences though, a part of the semantic stimulus is expressed by a phrase external to the subject, often a PP. Such cases have been referred to as ‘split stimuli’ in the literature. We present an explorative corpus-based investigation of split stimuli in German and show that they are quite frequent, that the number of prepositions licensing such readings is surprisingly large, that the PPs involved in them are adjuncts (they are optional and there may be more than one of them), and that verbs differ largely with respect to the number of split stimulus examples with different prepositions. A further semantic annotation study of the subjects of the sentences and the internal arguments of the prepositions suggests that it is unnecessary to postulate the existence of specific ‘split stimulus’ readings of the prepositions, but that the ‘split’ effect arises from an interplay of the semantics of the verbs and well-known interpretations of the prepositions.
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Reference: lingbuzz/007096
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: split stimuli, experiencer-object verb, psych verb, prepositions, corpus, german, semantics, syntax
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