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Dialectologia et Geolinguistica

Journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics

Ed. by van Nahl, Astrid

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

Timo Ahlers / Juliane Fink
Published Online: 2017-11-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2017-0004

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. Bailey 1997). When we learn a new action word, we often do so embedded in a particular motor context (cf. Bailey et al. 1997; Bergen et al. 2004). 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 (Pulvermüller 2005; Steels & Belpaeme 2005; Barsalou 2008; Evans 2009) and motor cognition (Bailey et al. 1997; Marocco et al. 2010) 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.

Keywords: semantic variation; motor cognition; varieties of German

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About the article

Published Online: 2017-11-27

Published in Print: 2017-11-27


Citation Information: Dialectologia et Geolinguistica, Volume 25, Issue 1, Pages 69–91, ISSN (Online) 1867-0903, ISSN (Print) 0942-4040, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dialect-2017-0004.

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