Gradient Effects of Animacy on Differential Object Marking in Turkish

Elif Krause 1  and Klaus von Heusinger 2
  • 1 Institute of German Language and Literature I, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • 2 Institute of German Language and Literature I, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany


Animacy is a pervasive cognitive category that is displayed in the grammatical behavior of the world’s languages through categorical or gradient effects. We argue in this paper that animacy is a crucial parameter for Differential Object Marking (i.e., the optional marking of the direct object) in Turkish. DOM languages are typically categorized according to their dependency on definiteness and animacy. Turkish has thus far been assumed to depend only on definiteness; however, we present the first set of empirical evidence based on perceived acceptability judgment measures that show a significant effect of animacy on Turkish DOM. Moreover, we show the gradient nature of this effect. This original finding provides further evidence for the assertion that animacy is a crucial linguistic parameter in Turkish DOM and illustrates how the conceptual category of animacy is deeply entrenched in the grammar of Turkish.

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