Action Sensitivity in Grammar

Over the last thirty years, linguists have observed that various grammatical phenomena are sensitive to the interpretation of an action as intentional versus non-intentional. Henceforth, we refer to this effect as action sensitivity. Action sensitivity phenomena come from different domains of the grammar and affect unrelated languages. Although the effect shows clear signs of a universal constraint, there has been no systematic empirical or theoretical investigation of it. Understanding linguistic mechanisms underlying action sensitivity is the main goal of this project. The outcomes of the project will be relevant not only for theoretical linguistics, but also for other cognitive disciplines, most notably experimental philosophy, as well as developmental and clinical psychology.

Thomas Weskott (PI), Hedde Zeijlstra (PI), Julie Goncharov (Postdoc)