The Syntax and Semantics of Pseudo-Incorporation

March 13-15, 2013, Potsdam

Hosted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft

Webpage of the local organisation:


Invited speakers

Veneeta Dayal (Rutgers University)
Henriëtte de Swart (Utrecht University)



March 13


Olga Borik (UAB) & Berit Gehrke (UPF)


M.Teresa Espinal (UAB)
Pseudo-incorporation in Romance at the syntax-semantics interface [abstract] [slides]


Bert Le Bruyn (UiL-OTS)
Why have-predicates can take bare nominals [abstract] [slides]


Ana Aguilar Guevara (UiL-OTS)
Weak nouns, weak verbs, and stereotypicality [abstract] [slides]


Coffee break


Florian Schwarz (UPenn)
Weak Definites and Kinds of Events [abstract] [slides]


Natalia Serdobolskaya (Russian State University for the Humanities)
Direct Object marking in Mari: Unmarked DOs or pseudoincorporation [abstract] [handout]


Veneeta Dayal (Rutgers)
Standard Complementation, Pseudo-Incorporation, Compounding [abstract] [handout]

March 14


Henriëtte de Swart (Utrecht)
Constructions with and without an article [abstract] [handout]


Stavroula Alexandropoulou, Maartje Schulpen & Henriëtte de Swart (UiL-OTS & Utrecht)
Modification of bare nominals across languages and constructions [abstract] [slides]


Lidia Bogatyreva (UAB)
Cognate Intensifiers in Russian [abstract]


Coffee break


Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin (CNRS-LFF, Paris 7) & Marcelo Ferreira (Sao Paolo)
Amounts of objects and pluralities [abstract]


Fereshteh Modarresi (ZAS, Berlin)
Quasi-incorporation and number marking in Persian [abstract]


Michael Barrie (Sogang University) & Audrey Li (USC)
The Semantics of (Pseudo)Incorporation and Case [abstract]

March 15


Olav Mueller-Reichau (Leipzig)
Pseudo-incorporation in Russian? Aspectual competition and bare singular interpretation [abstract] [slides]


Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin (CNRS-LFF, Paris 7)
Types of kind-referring BSs and pseudo-incorporation [abstract]


Werner Frey (ZAS, Berlin)
Pseudo-Incorporation in German [abstract] [handout]


General discussion

Click here to download the programme in pdf.


Make sure you also check out the complete programme of the DGfS Meeting here:


Location, registration, accommodation, DGfS plenary talks & events etc.

Information about location, registration, accommodation, and anything else related to the workshop, which is part of the bigger Annual Meeting of the German Linguistic Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), can be found on the webpage of the local organisers of this year's meeting ( There you can also find information about plenary talks addressed to the participants of all workshops, as well as about the warming up on March 12 and the DGfS dinner on March 13.


Scientific committee

Olga Borik, Veneeta Dayal, Carmen Dobrovie-Sorin, M. Teresa Espinal, Donka Farkas, Berit Gehrke, Marika Lekakou, Louise McNally, Henriëtte de Swart, Joost Zwarts


Organized by:

Olga Borik (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Berit Gehrke (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)



Meeting description

In recent years, a number of works have been dedicated to the phenomenon of pseudo-incorporation in various languages, such as Niuean, Hindi, Hungarian, Spanish, Catalan (Massam 2001, Farkas & de Swart 2003, Espinal & McNally 2011, Dayal 2011). Pseudo-incorporation involves the use of a bare noun in internal argument position, which shares some semantic properties with syntactically incorporated nouns (e.g. German radfahren 'ride a bike'), such as obligatory narrow scope, inability to introduce discourse referents, or number neutrality. On the other hand, pseudo-incorporated nouns have more syntactic freedom than syntactically incorporated ones (cf. Mithun 1984, Baker 1988, van Geenhoven 1998, Chung & Ladusaw 2003): strict adjacency to the verb is not (always) required, the noun can be marked for case, the verb can show agreement with the noun, certain types of modification may be allowed.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together research on the semantics and syntax of pseudo-incorporation. Particular topics to be addressed include but are not limited to the following: Which lexical restrictions apply to nouns and verbs that participate in pseudo-incorporation? Do these restrictions hold cross-linguistically? Can we make more precise the intuition that pseudo-incorporation involves reference to some institutionalized activity? Can only nouns in internal argument position be the target of pseudo-incorporation (as is commonly assumed) or do we also find this phenomenon in other argument positions, for example with PP arguments (e.g. go beach; cf. Gehrke & Lekakou 2012)? Is number neutrality a defining feature of pseudo-incorporation or should it rather be explained on the basis of the aspectual properties of predicates involved (Dayal 2011)? Should pseudo-incorporated nouns be analyzed as predicate modifiers or as uninstantiated arguments? The nouns that take part in pseudo-incorporation share defining properties with weak definites (cf. Carlson et al. 2006), which have been analyzed as kind terms by Aguilar-Guevara & Zwarts (2011); are pseudo-incorporated nouns and weak definites just two ways to express the same semantic relation, or are there fundamental differences between the two?



Aguilar Guevara, Ana and Joost Zwarts (2011). Weak definites and reference to kinds. In Proceedings of SALT 20, 179-196.

Baker, Mark C. (1988). Incorporation: A Theory of Grammatical Function Changing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Carlson, Greg, Rachel Sussman, Natalie Klein, and Michael Tanenhaus (2006). Weak definite noun phrases. In Christopher Davis, Amy Rose Deal, and Youri Zabbal (eds.), Proceedings of NELS 36. Amherst, MA: GLSA.

Chung, Sandra and William Ladusaw (2003). Restriction and Saturation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Dayal, Veneeta (2011). Hindi pseudo-incorporation. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 29.1:123-167.

Espinal, M. Teresa and Louise McNally (2011). Bare nominals and incorporating verbs in Sparish and Catalan. Journal of Linguistics 47:87-128.

Farkas, Donka and Henriëtte de Swart (2003). The Semantics of Incorporation: From Argument Structure to Discourse Transparency. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

Gehrke, Berit and Marika Lekakou (2012). How to miss your preposition. To appear in the Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Department of Linguistics<, University of Thessaloniki.

van Geenhoven, Veerle (1998). Semantic Incorporation and Indefinite Descriptions. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

Massam, Diane (2001). Pseudo noun incorporation in Niuean. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 19:153-197.

Mithun, Marianne (1984). The evolution of noun incorporation. Language 60:847-894.

last modified: 23 May 2013