Dr. Mailin Ines Antomo
University of Göttingen
Mailin Antomo’s research investigates phenomena at the interface of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics with a focus on German. She has worked, both theoretically and empirically, on embedded root phenomena, (not-)at-issueness, implicatures, presuppositions, lying and deceiving, and the acquisition of these phenomena. Furthermore, she is interested in educational linguistics. She obtained her PhD from the University of Göttingen in 2015, after being part of the DFG-funded research training group “Sentence types: Variation and Interpretation” at the university of Frankfurt. She is currently a permanent lecturer for German linguistics at the University of Göttingen and principal investigator of the project “Lying, deceiving, misleading: are we committed to our gestures?”.
- Antomo, Mailin (to appear): Lying with visual means. To appear in: Wiegmann, Alex (ed.): Lying, Fake News, and Bullshit. Bloomsbury, Advances in Experimental Philosophy.
- Chen, Yuqiu/Thalmann, Maik/Antomo, Mailin (2022): Presuppositions and at-issueness: Insights from language acquisition into the soft-hard distinction. In: Journal of Pragmatics 199, 21-46.
- Thalmann, Maik/Chen, Yuqiu/Müller, Susanne/Paluch, Markus/Antomo, Mailin (2021): Against PCI-GCI uniformity: Evidence from deceptive language in German and Chinese. In: Linguistische Berichte 267, 355-385.
- Antomo, Mailin/Müller, Susanne/Paluch, Markus/Paul, Katharina/Thalmann, Maik (2018): When children aren’t more logical than adults: An empirical investigation of lying by falsely implicating. In: Journal of Pragmatics 138, 135-148.
- Antomo, Mailin (2012): Projective Meaning and the Licensing of Embedded Root Phenomena. In: Boone, Enrico/Linke, Kathrin/Schulpen, Maartje (ed.): Proceedings of ConSOLE XIX, Leiden, 1-23.
Lying and, more generally, deceiving are fundamental human experiences: everyone lies and is lied to every day. In the traditional understanding, lying requires asserting something the speaker believes to be false, whereas other verbal or non-verbal ways of deception (like disclosing part of the truth or pointing in the wrong direction)are often analyzed as mere cases of misleading. The border between lying and misleading, then, matches the semantics-pragmatics boundary and lying is restricted to verbally communicated content. However, the recent decade has faced numerous investigations, many of them experimental, who put forward arguments against such a narrow definition of lying. Researchers from empirical linguistics and empirical philosophy have shown, for instance, that it is possible to lie by means of implicatures or with presuppositions. Furthermore, the results of several studies suggest that there is a strong correlation between the degree of perceived commitment and the degree to which an utterance is perceived as a lie. Following such a commitment-based definition of lying, lying, then, amounts to being committed to a proposition p that is false (or that the communicator of p believes to be false). Both concepts, commitment, and lying have been investigated with a strong focus on spoken and written language, whereas visual aspects of communication have often been marginalized. Therefore, this project aims at investigating the significance of the verbal/visual distinction in commitment attribution and the theory of lying by aiming to answer the following questions:-Are untruthful gestures perceived as lies, or is lying bound to verbal communication? To what degree do gestures involve speaker commitment?-Can a commitment-based notion of lying account for untruthful gestures? It is planned to conduct systematic empirical studies on (deceptive) gestures and commitment by working with visual data captured on video (in German and Chinese) to elicit lay people’s intuitions. A first pilot study shows differences depending on gesture type and contextual relevance of the gestural content. In sum, by conducting experimental studies, this research project pursues the main objective to enhance the theory of commitment and the concept of lying in order that they are able to capture gestural meaning contributions. The two major issues are, thus, empirical (gather new data on (deceptive) gestures and commitment) and theoretical (implementation of gestural meaning contributions into theoretical notions of commitment and lying).