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Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik

Deutsche Sprache in Gegenwart und Geschichte

Ed. by Ágel, Vilmos / Feilke, Helmuth / Linke, Angelika / Lüdeling, Anke / Tophinke, Doris

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Das Deutsche und die dräuenden Apostrophe. Zur Verbreitung von ᾿s im Gegenwartsdeutschen

Carmen Scherer

Adresse der Verfasserin: Dr. Carmen Scherer, Deutsches Institut, FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, D-55099 Mainz. E-Mail:

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik. Volume 38, Issue 1, Pages 1–24, ISSN (Online) 1613-0626, ISSN (Print) 0301-3294, DOI: 10.1515/zgl.2010.002, May 2010

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Two main functions are attested for the apostrophe in German: the substitution of omitted letters (‘phonographic apostrophe’) as opposed to the indication of morpheme boundaries (‘morphographic apostrophe’). While the first type of use is in accordance with the orthographical norm, the second one is not. Based on a corpus study of a total of more than 350 million word forms, the distribution of the apostrophe in a specific graphemic environment, namely before <s>, will be investigated. It will be shown that 10–20% of all apostrophes are used in case of genitive or plural formation. Furthermore, a detailed context analysis will reveal an interdependency between the different types of apostrophe and text type.

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