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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 12, 2015

Zur Syntax hypothetischer Vergleichssätze im Deutschen

  • Sebastian Bücking EMAIL logo


This paper is concerned with the syntactic properties of hypothetical comparison clauses (= HCCs) in German. These are introduced either by als (‘as’) or wie (‘how’); for example, Ben fährt Rad, {als wenn er betrunken wäre / als ob er betrunken wäre / als wäre er betrunken / wie wenn er betrunken wäre} (‘Ben is cycling as if he were drunk’). I argue that als in als-HCCs contributes a prepositional C-head that involves idiosyncratic selectional restrictions regarding the embedded conditional clause. HCCs with wie, by contrast, are treated as by and large ordinary free relative clauses; what sets them apart from other free relative clauses is that their initial wh-phrase is extracted from an empty VP, which is licensed by the explicit conditional antecedent. The proposed analyses are backed up by evidence from the following sources: (i) the behavior of HCCs with regard to diagnostics for (dis)integration/subordination as opposed to coordination, (ii) basic semantic properties of HCCs, and (iii) structural contrasts between HCCs introduced by als and HCCs introduced by wie. I spell out the proposals in terms of Sternefeld’s (2006) feature-driven lexicalist syntax model.

Online erschienen: 2015-8-12
Erschienen im Druck: 2015-8-1

© 2015 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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