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Elicitation of Basic PUT&TAKE Verbs – An Experimental Approach

Alexandra N. Lenz

Abstract

While previous research has mainly concentrated on the analysis of “specifying” PUT and TAKE verbs (like e.g. English SET, STICK, PULL or German STELLEN ‘cause to stand’, STECKEN ‘stick’/‘plug’, ZIEHEN ‘pull’), analyses on “basic verbs” (like e.g. English PUT and TAKE or French METTRE ‘put’ and PRENDRE ‘take’) have so far remained a desideratum. In this contribution, we will pursue an experimental approach to basic PUT and TAKE verbs in German. While German and English share the existence of a basic verb for source-oriented object movements, i.e. TAKE in English and NEHMEN in German, a basic verb for goal-oriented positional placement - i.e. for putting events - is missing in German, at least in the German standard varieties. Nevertheless, our experiment will show that nonstandard varieties of German provide potential candidates for basic PUT verbs among which especially the verb GEBEN ‘(lit.) give’ is about to achieve the status of a standard language variant.

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