Kim Fuellenbach

DPhil Graduate
A photograph of Kim Fuellenbach


I have recently completed my DPhil, which looked at the role of morphosyntactic variation in concept acquisition.

For example, how we come to have a representation for categories based on their members.

My DPhil, titled “A generic subject: On the interplay of morphosyntax and the human conceptual system”, was heavily experimental and truly interdisciplinary in nature, applying linguistic findings of generic DPs to prominent designs in psychology studies. In other words, I investigated the make-up of generics and kind-referring subjects through psycholinguistic methodology.

My experimental designs were informed by theoretical assumptions of the morphosyntax and semantics of language. The experimental results showed that linguistic cues alone are often insufficient to explain different conceptualisations and expectations of category-property links. Rather, a combination of various factors, such as amount of training, type of cue (visual, auditory, linguistic-only), category type (animal, artefact), and linguistic mode (perception, production) are necessary to explain the extension of properties to novel category members and the expectations as to whether predicated properties are necessary features of novel members.

Before starting my DPhil, I completed my MPhil here at Oxford. The main focus of my MPhil thesis, called "Genericity and the human conceptual system: On the morphosyntax of generic subjects", paved the way for my current research.

I combined theoretical findings on the role of the presence or absence of certain syntactic projections in the DP with experimental findings on our interpretation of the connection between a generic subject and its properties. Specifically, how do we know to interpret the connection between barns and the property of being red in "Barns are red" differently from the link between tigers and being striped in "Tigers are striped." Further, why can we talk about tigers in general with sentences of the form "The tiger is striped" but the same does not hold for our previous example "#The barn is red", where the only interpretation is about a specific barn?


Selected publications & presentations:

Kwapiszewski, A. and Fuellenbach, K. (Forthcoming): Reference to Kinds and Subkinds in Polish. Advances in Formal Slavic Linguistics 2018.

Ito, A., Gambi, C., Pickering, M.J., Fuellenbach, K., and Husband, E.M. (2020). Prediction of phonological and gender information: An event-related potential study in Italian. Neuropsychologia, 136. 107291.

Fuellenbach, K. and Gelman, S. A. (2019) Generic and non-generic interpretations for singular and plural subjects: Experimental studies on genericity. Proceedings of ConSOLE XXVII, pp.38-58.

Fuellenbach, K. & Gelman, S. A. Acquiring a (non-)generic interpretation for definite singular subjects. ConSOLE XVII. Berlin, Germany, February 21st - 23rd 2019. (Oral presentation)

Kwapiszewski, A. & Fuellenbach, K. Definite Kinds in Polish. Formal Description of Slavic Languages: Workshop on the Semantic of Noun Phrases, Universität Göttingen, Germany, December 5th - 7th 2018. (Oral presentation)