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LINGUIST List 19.3945

Mon Dec 22 2008

Diss: Pragmatics/Syntax/Semantics: Finkbeiner: 'Sentential Idioms ...'

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        1.    Rita Finkbeiner, Sentential Idioms in German: Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic studies and investigation of their productivity


Message 1: Sentential Idioms in German: Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic studies and investigation of their productivity
Date: 22-Dec-2008
From: Rita Finkbeiner <rita.finkbeinertyska.su.se>
Subject: Sentential Idioms in German: Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic studies and investigation of their productivity
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Institution: Stockholm University
Program: Department of Baltic Languages, Finnish and German
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Rita Finkbeiner

Dissertation Title: Sentential Idioms in German: Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic studies and investigation of their productivity

Dissertation URL: http://www.diva-portal.org/su/theses/abstract.xsql?dbid=8289

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
                            Psycholinguistics
                            Semantics
                            Syntax
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Dessislava Stoeva Holm
Jörg Meibauer

Dissertation Abstract:

This study aims at examining in detail the linguistic characteristics of
sentential idioms ('idiomatische Sätze', IS) in German, e.g. 'Das kannst du
dir an den Hut stecken.'; 'Du hast wohl Tomaten auf den Augen!'; 'Da lachen
ja die Hühner!'. In theoretically and empirically investigating their
syntactic, semantic and pragmatic features and productive potential, it is
shown that IS can only be described properly by looking at the interfaces
between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, and by systematically
investigating pattern formation. In this respect, the study goes far beyond
traditional phraseological research.

As a theoretical background, the study refers to research on phraseology,
sentence types and sentence mood, linguistic evaluation, morphological
productivity, and the frameworks of Construction Grammar and Relevance
Theory. Empirical evidence comes from a large corpus of written German, a
linguistic experiment on productivity, and introspective data.

With respect to syntax, the study shows that IS are bound to one or a few
different sentence types, varying according to the degree of restriction of
their speech act potential. The complex semantics of IS is shown to consist
not only of a literal and an idiomatic, but also of a third, mediating
representational level. The idiomatic meaning of IS is described as
evaluative meaning. Pragmatically, IS are dependent on special contextual
environments to obtain a proper interpretation. A context model is
developed which makes use of certain categories of evaluation. Moreover, a
relevance-theoretic approach is sketched in order to explain which
functional advantages IS might have compared to non-idiomatic utterances.

With respect to productivity, ten different idiomatic patterns of
construction are identified and described in detail. It is experimentally
demonstrated that these patterns are productive to a greater or lesser
degree dependent on their internal syntactic, lexical, semantic and
pragmatic features.



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