LINGUIST List 14.3431

Thu Dec 11 2003

Diss: Syntax/Semantics: Schulz: 'Factivity...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. schulzpetra, Factivity: Its Nature and Acquisition

Message 1: Factivity: Its Nature and Acquisition

Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 11:54:33 -0500 (EST)
From: schulzpetra <>
Subject: Factivity: Its Nature and Acquisition

Institution: University of T´┐Żbingen
Program: Neuphilologische Fakultaet
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2000

Author: Petra Schulz

Dissertation Title: Factivity: Its Nature and Acquisition

Linguistic Field: Syntax, Semantics, Psycholinguistics, 
Language Acquisition 

Subject Language: German, Standard (code: GER), English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: Rosemarie Tracy
Dissertation Director 2: Marga Reis
Dissertation Director 3: Veronika Ehrich
Dissertation Director 4: Tom Roeper

Dissertation Abstract:

Challenging existing lexical-semantic accounts, this book presents a
compositional approach to the concept of factivity and its
acquisition. Factive sentences such as John forgot that he bought
wine presuppose the truth of the embedded complement. The author
argues that a satisfactory characterization of factivity can only be
accomplished if its multiple dimensions are acknowledged. A thorough
examination of the empirical data demonstrates that factivity,
rather than being a property of the matrix predicate, results from
the complex interaction of lexical-semantic, syntactic, and
discourse-semantic factors.

Focusing on English, the predictions of this compositional approach to
factivity are tested with production and comprehension data covering
children's acquisitional patterns between the ages of 2 and 8. After a
comprehensive review of previous studies, the author presents two
rigorously designed comprehension experiments and a detailed analysis
of two longitudinal corpora. The child data provides convincing
evidence that the multidimensionality of factivity is mirrored in the
acquisition process by a stepwise mastery of its different
components. Children produce and correctly interpret factive
structures around age 4, but certain syntactic and discourse-semantic
properties are not learned before age 7.

Linguistische Arbeiten (Band 480). T´┐Żbingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag
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