Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Style, Mediation, and Change

Edited by Janus Mortensen, Nikolas Coupland, and Jacob Thogersen

Style, Mediation, and Change "Offers a coherent view of style as a unifying concept for the sociolinguistics of talking media."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Intonation and Prosodic Structure

By Caroline Féry

Intonation and Prosodic Structure "provides a state-of-the-art survey of intonation and prosodic structure."


The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.

Academic Paper


Title: The Conceptual Structure of German Impersonal Constructions
Author: Michael B. Smith
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Oakland University
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Syntax
Subject Language: German
Abstract: German impersonal constructions manifest an array of morphosyntactic properties, such as so-called expletive dummy subjects, 3rd person singular verb agreement, and, in some cases, experiencer nominals bearing "quirky" case (usually dative), that have traditionally been regarded as purely accidental, idiosyncratic, or semantically vacuous. This article argues that these properties typically associated with impersonal constructions in German can be semantically motivated and explained within the theoretical framework of Cognitive Grammar (see Langacker 1987a, 1991a, 1991b). Within this framework, it is assumed that morphosyntactic markers are meaningful and polysemous: they are complex conceptual categories with distinct but related senses radiating from a prototypical sense. As a result, impersonal constructions and their component substructures are seen to be meaningful in their own right in reflecting a particular way of construing a scene, rather than as epiphenomena of autonomous syntactic processes.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 17, Issue 2.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page