On tropes, states, and the combinatorics of the copula 'werden' in German


  • Sebastian Bücking
  • Edith Scheifele




This paper provides an ontology-based approach to the combinatorics of copula verbs. First, we argue that werden ‘become’ in German can be combined with trope ascriptions (e. g., groß ‘tall’), but not with state ascriptions (e. g., im Garten ‘in the garden’, tot ‘dead’). The approach is spelled out in terms of a (mis)match between the typing presuppositions of werden and the proffered ontological type of its predicative argument. Second, we relate our results to the combinatorics of stative copulas, focusing on the ser/estar alternation in Spanish. It is shown that the sensitivity of the alternation to a comparison between vs. within individuals can be recast in ontological terms. This captures striking combinatorial analogies between ser and werden and sheds new light on the ontological foundation of comparison classes.




How to Cite

Bücking, S., & Scheifele, E. (2021). On tropes, states, and the combinatorics of the copula ’werden’ in German. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 25, 169–186. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2021.v25i0.930