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Jean-Christophe Verstraete: "Insubordination in Germanic"

Vortrag am Institut für Linguistik, 27. Okt. 2011, 16 Uhr

This talk will discuss insubordinate complement constructions in three Germanic languages (Dutch, German and English). Insubordination refers to the main clause use of structures that are formally marked as subordinate (Evans 2007), as illustrated in the complement constructions in (1), (2) and (3) below.

(1) German
Dass du mir bloß nicht zu nahe kommst!
COMP you I.DAT PART NEG too close come.PRS
'Just don't come too close!'
(2) Dutch
Dat jullie nog lang en gelukkig mogen leven!
COMP you PART long and happily may.PRS live
'I wish you a long and happy life.'
(3) English
That it should have come to this.

We will analyse the broad semantic range of these constructions, which as predicted by Evans (2007) falls within the domain of modality and evaluation, as well as their specific formal and semantic make-up, especially the role played by particles and modal expressions. We will show that most types of complement insubordination have to be treated as independent constructions in their own right, even though their formal similarity may suggest an analysis as instances of a more schematic type. We will support this point with a comparative analysis across the three languages and with internal evidence from each of the three languages.

Evans, N. 2007. Insubordination and its uses. In Nikolaeva, ed. Finiteness. Theoretical and Empirical Foundations. Oxford: OUP. 366-431.