De diachronie van complexe gezegdes in de West Germaanse talen


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Titel De diachronie van complexe gezegdes in de West Germaanse talen
Looptijd 09 / 2000 - 09 / 2005
Status Afgesloten
Dissertatie Ja
Onderzoeknummer OND1291274
Leverancier gegevens Website VUA

Samenvatting (EN)

The only detailed study to date on the development of SCV's is Van Loey (1976). In the meantime, enormous corpora have been made available such as the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal on CD-rom, the Corpus-Gysseling, and the 14th century corpus of law texts created at the Vrije Universiteit. In addition, the Middelnederlandsch Woordenboek is also available on CD-rom. It is time now to use these important resources for detailed theoretically inspired historical linguistic research. A preliminary issue that should be addressed for all three subprojects is the following: what are the criteria for considering a word sequence an SCV? Initial work suggests that on the basis of the behaviour of SCV's in the Modern West-Germanic languages, SCV's evince distinct syntactic behaviour as summarized above in connection with (1): the nonverbal part is always adjacent to the verb, but can be separated from the verb by a number of well-described syntactic processes, such as verb fronting, verb clustering, infinitive marking. The particle is also separated from the verb stem by inseparable prefixes. A further important property is that the separable prefix is is always stressed. This is a property that can be checked primarily in poetic texts written in the alliterative four stress line. We will need to consider whether additional criteria can be formulated, in order to resolve potential ambiguities in the historical material. We will also need to consider whether there are cases where both a syntactic analysis (with the particle as a secondary predicate) and a lexical analysis are feasible. As pointed out by Van Loey (1976), Middle Dutch particle+verb sequences can be classified as separable by means of the same criteria as those for modern Dutch. In addition, we sometimes find negative elements between particle and verb, as in dinghe die hem niet toe en hoerden 'things that did not belong to him'. Our underlying assumption here is that the syntax of Dutch remained stable in important respects through history: although there are more VO word orders in Middle Dutch than in the present-day language, and although these were relevant for the position of particles as well, OV word orders were dominant and became more so; in Middle Dutch, as in Modern Dutch, the finite verb was moved in the root clause, stranding the particle, as in soe en liet hy niet af dat woert Godes ... te prediken (Frensweger.7) 'thus not left he not off the word of God ... to preach'. General discussion of these issues can be found in Weerman (1989). What is peculiar, however, is that there are many cases in which a verb that is clearly separable by the criteria given above, nevertheless has the particle/prefix before the verb in main clauses, as in So achterliet hy sunte Agnetenberch 'and so he behind-left St Agnes mountain', a sentence from the Frensweger manuscript. The question is whether this is due to the Latin Vorlage in which a prefixed verb is used, or whether there is still extensive variation in Middle Dutch. Moreover, in modern Dutch it is only the separable form that survived: achterlaten is a SCV in modern Dutch. This will be discussed in more detail below. Subsequently, an number of empirical questions must be answered. The first question is which words developed into particles of SCV's and when? For instance, the following prepositions and or/adverbs have a particle counterpart: aan, achter, bij, binnen, buiten, na, om, onder, over, tegen, voor, door, in, langs, op, rond, over, uit, voorbij, af, mee, toe, heen. But there are also many prepositions that do not have a particle counterpart, e.g. met, naar, te, tot, van, zonder, vanaf, blijkens, wegens, sedert, tijdens, behalve. This should probably be explained in terms of the historical syntactic origin of the particle-V combinations. The second question is: why is it that only some of the prepositions of present-day Dutch function as particles? Our hypothesis is that only those prepositions that could be used as adverbs or predicates also function as particles; this hypothesis must be checked on the basis of the available data bases mentioned above. Thirdly, it has to be investigated why it is that only some of the particles developed into productive prefixes. The particle door, for instance, is also used productively as a prefix. On the other hand, there are also particles that do not have a productive prefixal counterpart. For instance, the particle achter can also be used as an inseparable prefix, but only in two verbs of Dutch: achterhalen and achtervolgen. Similarly, the prefix aan occurs on three verbs only, aanbidden, aanschouwen, aanvaarden. A very important fourth issue is the relation between the emergence of SCV's with particles, and the emergence of other kinds of SCV's such as deelnemen, goedkeuren, standhouden, etc.? Is the same mechanism of reanalysis involved? It is our hypothesis that such noun-incorporating verbs could only arise at a time when there was no longer overt case marking on nouns, because case marking indicates the syntactic independence of a noun with respect to a following verb. There are quite a number of SCV's of which the verbal head does not exist as an independent verb, e.g. toesnellen (adjective snel 'fast') and uithuwelijken (noun huwelijk 'marriage'). These SCV's could not develop directly as a result of reanalysis of a syntactic surface configuration, because there is no evidence that in the past verbs like snellen and huwelijken existed. This seems to indicate that the particle-verb construction has indeed become a lexical, non-syntactic way of creating lexical expressions. However, we do not know when this kind of transpositional use of particles was first attested in the history of Dutch. Data about such SCV's will therefore be very relevant for tracing the history of SCV's as reanalysed lexical expressions. The transition from particle to prefix is a case of grammaticalisation that is assumed to coincide with semantic bleaching (Hopper & Traugott 1993). Observations by Overdiep (1937) and van Loey (1976) support this point of view. However, a systematic exploration of the relevant data in the available corpora is lacking; this will be part of the systematic historical investigations of the proposed dissertation project. A well known hypothesis of grammaticalisation theory is that of unidirectionality: the historical developments are always such that morphemes become more and more grammatical. This predicts that particles can become prefixes, but not vice versa. In more recent literature, doubts have been raised about this unidirectionality hypothesis (cf. Lightfoot 1998; Beths forthcoming). The historical data concerning particles and their prefixal counterparts are a good testing ground for this hypothesis. As observed by Van Loey (1976), there are many verbs that are now separable, but were inseparable in middle Dutch, unlike what the unidirectionality hypothesis predicts. For instance, the present day separable verb aanspreken 'to address' was used as an inseparable verb in Middle Dutch, as in als die liede an hem spraken 'when those people addressed him' (Van Loey 1976). There are many more examples of verbs that are separable in present-day Dutch, but were used as inseparable in middle Dutch texts. It has also been observed by Overdiep and Van Loey that there are differences of dating between particles as to when they became inseparable. For instance, aan became a prefix very early, perhaps because, as Overdiep suggests, it already had a rather vague and abstract meaning. As such, it would seem to be more amenable to grammaticalization, but nevertheless it developed into a separable prefix, albeit of the more grammaticalized idiomatic type. SCV's in Middle Dutch (and also the older stages of German/Saxon) show some word order variations that are on the one hand different from the patterns of Modern Dutch, on the other hand they closely resemble the behaviour of SCV's in Old English, as will be discussed below. It was already mentioned above that Middle Dutch has more VO word orders than there are in the present-day language. The positioning of particles is also freeer than in the present-day language, as discussed in Neeleman and Weerman (1993). Thus, while the dominant order in the embedded clause is ... Object particle V, as in (4a), the alternative orders (4b-d) are also attested (a Modern Dutch example is given for each pattern): (4) a Object Particle V dat hij het boek afmaakte b V Object Particle *dat hij maakte het boek af c V Particle Object *dat hij maakte af het boek d Object V Particle *dat hij het boek maakte af The word orders (4b-d) are impossible in the present-day language. What is so striking is that Old English and Old High German and Saxon shows the same array of surface patterns, but while in Dutch and German, the pattern (4a) became the exclusive option, English, with the loss of OV word orders, became restricted to the options (4b-c), and these are the options for which an analysis as a predicate is less than straightforward. One of the aims of this project, in concert with the other subprojects, is to determine the precise relationship between the word order of SCV's against the background of general word order developments. A precise picture of this development should throw considerable light on the feasibility of an analysis of the separable prefix as a predicate, as embedded in an OV grammar. In sum, the research project aims at a detailed diachronic account of SCV's in Dutch , from the perspective of a number of well-defined and interesting theoretical issues.

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Betrokken personen

Promotor Prof.dr. G.E. Booij
Promovendus Dr. C. Blom

Bovenliggende onderzoeksactiviteit(en)


D36300 Germaanse taal- en letterkunde

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