Motor-concept variation in the German verbs ‘anfassen’, ‘angreifen’, ‘anlangen’. Differences between Austria, Germany and Switzerland

Timo Ahlers 1  and Juliane Fink 1
  • 1 Department of German, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Timo Ahlers and Juliane Fink

Abstract

The semantics of German ‘touch’ verbs include corresponding motor concepts. These seem to result from experiences and learning from subjective bodily actions and interactions with the environment during language acquisition (cf. ). When we learn a new action word, we often do so embedded in a particular motor context (cf. ; ). In this pilot study, we investigate how the motor concepts of German hand-related ‘touch’-verb variants ([an]fassen, [an]greifen, [an]langen, cf. VWB: 38–39, 40, 42) – which are often considered to be true synonyms – are applied by speakers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The empirical study draws on research into cognitive semantics (; ; ; ) and motor cognition (; ) and aims at adding a variationist linguistic component to the existing research (cf. Fink in prep.). By use of a stimulus response experiment with 25 native speakers from the three countries, we will show a) that the three verb variants differ in terms of motor concepts and therefore are no true synonyms and b) that the motor concepts for each verb differ between speakers of German in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica publishes contributions on the variation of languages world-wide, systematic and inherent, diachronic and synchronic, regional and social, based on either oral or written data. It is open to all theoretical and methodological approaches. The journal is the official journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics (ISDG/SIDG).

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