This paper addresses the English way-construction [SUBJi V POSSi way OBL] and its reflexive analogues in German and Dutch. We argue that the different constructions are best compared using conceptual terms describing middle situations in the domain of autocausative motion (Kemmer 1993). Two dimensions are especially important: path traversal and goal-directedness (or telicity). It will be shown that way-constructions and their analogues can be arranged along these dimensions. Moreover, there is a general parallel tendency for newer constructions to occupy the domain of ‘path traversal’. In English, this development has resulted in the way-construction being dominant at the cost of the historically prior reflexive resultative construction. In Dutch, the weg-construction, which expresses path-traversal, competes with the more generally established Transitionto- Location Construction, which specialises in the expression of telic transition of location. In German, finally, there is no schematic Weg-construction: the entire conceptual space of autocausative motion is covered by reflexive constructions - either instantiations of a more general reflexive construction [SUBJ V sich OBL] or inherently reflexive verbs.
The present contribution analyses the sentence-internal capitalisation practice in selected Dutch bibles printed between 1450 and 1750. The use of majuscules proves to be highly sensitive to word class, i.e. it almost exclusively affects nouns. The Dutch case exhibits clear parallels to the emergence and development of sentence-internal capitalisation in German: In both languages, the majuscule was first conventionalised in proper names. Within common nouns, the use of uppercase letters is initially driven by pragmatic factors (i.e. emphatic and/or honorific use). By the end of the 16th century, however, the use of majuscules is increasingly motivated by cognitive factors, mainly animacy and concreteness of the referent. Finally, the comparison of Dutch bible prints with their German textual basis shows that Dutch printers did not adapt the capitalisation conventions of the German source-text on a one-to-one basis. Rather, Dutch printers appear to have temporarily established a capitalisation practice of their own with a clear preference to uppercase concrete nouns as opposed to abstract nouns. However, the capitalisation practice is generally characterised by a tremendous inconsistency across the single Dutch bible prints throughout the whole period under consideration. This inconsistency is considered to be one reason for the fact that sentence- internal capitalisation was abandoned in Dutch spelling in the long-run.
The aim of this paper is to explore how variation in the expression of gender has been and can be exploited to study gender perception in speakers of Dutch and German. We provide an up-to-date literature review on descriptive and psycholinguistic research on gender for these languages, considering empirical studies on both native (L1) and second language (L2) acquisition. This paper contributes to placing existing literature on gender in Dutch and German in a comparative mode and to offering a concrete rationale (e.g., three lines of enquiry) to move the psycholinguistic study of language, cognition and gender forward.
Sharing definite articles as a common feature, Germanic languages, however, diverge considerably with respect to these articles’ functional domains. Restrictions concern generic uses on the one hand and combinations with proper names on the other, displaying both later stages in grammaticalisation. Taking three West Germanic languages into account, German, Dutch, and English, it is shown that the semantic-pragmatic extension proceeds along the hierarchy definite > generic > onymic with the spread singular > plural generics and non-prototypical > prototypical proper names (i.e. with/without appellative heads) as intermediate steps. It will be argued that this development is most advanced in German, where both the generic and the onymic article are extensively used, which is not the case in English. Allowing for both the generic and the onymic article but with restrictions, definite articles in Dutch represent an intermediate stage of functional expansion.
In the West-Germanic languages we expect an auxiliary of the perfect to select a past participle. In a subset of these languages, however, some verbs select an infinitive instead, i.e. in constructions known as infinitivus pro participio (IPP). The phenomenon is well-studied with regard to Dutch and German, but for Afrikaans an extensive study based on empirical data is still lacking. In order to fill this void, the present paper uses a corpus study to identify the verbs which - obligatorily or optionally - take the IPP form in Afrikaans. Verb classes showing the IPP effect in Afrikaans, Dutch and German are compared, and crosslinguistic similarities and differences are identified. The result is a corpus-based typology of IPP verbs in the three languages in question.