Speaker: Yulia Clausen
Affiliation: Germanistisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
Title: German Question Tags: A Computational Analysis
Abstract: The German language exhibits a range of question tags that can typically, but not always, be substituted for one another. Moreover, the same words can have other meanings while occurring in the sentence-final position. The tags’ felicity conditions were addressed in previous corpus-based and experimental work and attributed to semantic and pragmatic properties of tag questions. This paper addresses the question of whether and to what extent the differences among German tags can be determined automatically. We assess the performance of three pretrained German BERT models on a tag question dataset and fine-tune one of these models on the tag word prediction task. A close examination of this model’s output indicates that BERT can identify properties relevant for the tags’ felicity conditions and interchangeability consistent with previous studies.