Guest lecture – Prof. Dr. Sabine Arndt-Lappe & Dr. Milena Belosevic (Bielefeld)
ThoMats meets Dramione — Proper names make a difference in German and English word-formation
Rescheduled: 5 June 2024
Abstract: In this talk, we present recent empirical results of our project Name-based lexical patterns across corpora in English and German. A short introduction to personal name blends focussing on a comparison between their formal and semantic properties in English and German is followed by our studies based on corpus data in English and experimentally elicited personal name blends in German. In English, we systematically compare recent English blends based on non-names and those comprising celebrity names (so-called ship names) with regard to their structural properties by means of a multivariate statistical analysis and discuss the theoretical implications of this comparison. Regarding German, we focus on experimentally elicited personal name blends to test the hypothesis that language users’ familiarity with blending and familiarity with name constituents influence the formation of canonical and creative blend structures in the production experiment. Using the data from the production task, we conducted a rating experiment to test the influence of the familiarity with name constituents and the blend structure on whether language users perceive them as creative. The results support our previous corpus-based findings (cf. Filatkina et al. 2019) indicating that experimentally elicited personal name blends are more patterned than traditionally assumed (cf. e.g., Fleischer & Barz 2012). The comparison of the two languages based on different data will allow us to discuss theoretical and methodological challenges and benefits regarding the study of name-based word formation in our project.