Zur Komposition von insofern als im Deutschen

  • 1 Universität Tübingen, Sonderforschungsbereich 833 „Bedeutungskonstitution“, Tübingen, Germany

Abstract

This paper is about the compositional interpretation of adverbial clauses as introduced by insofern als (lit. ‘insofar as’) in German (= IAs); for example, Die Lösung ist insofern attraktiv, als sie günstig ist. (lit. ‘The solution is insofar attractive as it is cheap.’). I argue that IAs always contribute dimensional restrictions, but do so in two distinct structure-sensitive ways: IAs can be structurally integrated into their host clauses and, thus, dimensionally specify a lexical component of the matrix VP (= LIAs) (‘The solution is attractive in price.’); alternatively, they can be structurally non-integrated and, thus, provide a dimension against which the matrix sentence is evaluated holistically (= SIAs) (‘In light of the fact that the solution is cheap, one may say that it is attrac­tive.’). The proposal is supported by both syntactic and semantic-pragmatic evidence: (i) LIAs and SIAs are distinguished by independently motivated tests for structural (non)integration such as scope of negation and particles, focus-background structure, and variable binding. (ii) LIAs are sensitive to a lexically given multidimensional matrix predication. SIAs, by contrast, require that the embedded clause specify an objective justification for the truth of the matrix proposition as a whole. In particular, IAs are shown to not pass tests for subjectivity as discussed for finden (‘find’); for example, judge- dependency, resistance against denial, or, accessibility of a subjective attitude. The paper concludes by sketching a formal derivation of both readings. Accordingly, LIAs constrain the dimensional parameter of multidimensional lexical predications, while SIAs provide facts that de re justify the assertibility of predications for topic situations.

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The journal Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft is published by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS). With approximately 1,000 members, the DGfS is the second largest association of linguists in the world. The aim of the journal is to promote linguistic research by publishing high-quality contributions from all fields and trends of modern linguistics.

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