Project B6:
Lexical Motivation in French, Italian and German (LexiTypeSyn)


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Assunta Urso




Prof. Dr. Peter Koch
Romanisches Seminar
Universität Tübingen
Wilhelmstraße 50
72074 Tübingen
Tel. +49/7071/29-74296; Fax +49/7071/29-5617


e-mail: peter.koch <[at]>



Research Team



Nauklerstr. 35


72074 Tübingen


phone: +0049/7071/29-77160





Daniela Marzo

PD Dr. Richard Waltereit


e-mail: daniela.marzo <[at]>

e-mail: richard.waltereit <[at]>


Verena Rube

Dr. Paul Gévaudan


e-mail: verena.rube <[at]>

e-mail: paul.gevaudan <[at]>

Birgit Umbreit:


e-mail: birgit.umbreit <[at]> uni-



Former Colleagues:

Susanna Gaidolfi Simone Alex  
Charlotte Coy Sebastian Schultheiß  

Assunta Urso

Frank Allmendinger


Aleksandar Savkov

Angela Dorn


Boštjan Dvořák


Isabelle Hiller


Karoline Jäckh


Wiltrud Mihatsch


Ningchuan Zhu


Paul Gévaudan


Reinhild Steinberg


International Cooperation:


Benjamin Fagard (Paris VII)


Our team is member of the INTAS-Project: Core Vocabulary in a Typological Perspective: Semantic Shifts and Form-Meaning-Correlations (Ref. No: 05-1000008-7917)



This synchronically and typologically orientated research project studies and compares the lexical motivation of parts of the lexicons of French, Italian and German. The innovation relative to traditional motivational research is the systematic specification of the motivational relations between lexical units not only according to formal, but also into semantic-cognitive categories (e.g. metaphorical similarity, contiguity, taxonomic relations etc.).
The sample of lexical units that will be studied is chosen according to the criteria of centrality and frequency. Its motivation is to be examined using speaker judgements. For each of the three languages we will study the most frequent lexical units as well as a sample of less frequent lexical units. The resulting motivational characteristics of over 2000 lexical units will be published in
TUSNELDA as a "Comparative Motivational Dictionary".
With such a description we aim on the one hand to establish motivational profiles of the three languages, and on the other hand to factorise the motivational relations into formal as well as semantic-cognitive types. The most significant theoretical question is whether all three languages have the same "cognitive preferences". We additionally plan to develop hypotheses on which combinations of formal and semantic-cognitive motivational relations are possible (and impossible).

Si vous êtes de langue maternelle française, nous vous invitons à participer à notre enquête actuelle!
Se siete di madrelingua italiana, vi invitiamo a partecipare al nostro esperimento attuale!

Publications, talks and poster presentations

Wiltrud Mihatsch and Angela Dorn, last updated: 5-12-2008, by Verena Rube