LINGUIST List 25.4845

Tue Dec 02 2014

Support: Middle Dutch, Middle High German, Middle Low German; Historical Linguistics, Semantics, Syntax / Belgium

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <>

Date: 01-Dec-2014
From: Anne Breitbarth <>
Subject: Middle Dutch, Middle High German, Middle Low German; Historical Linguistics, Semantics, Syntax: PhD Student, Ghent University, Belgium
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Department: Department of Linguistics
Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Ghent University

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Historical Linguistics; Semantics; Syntax

Required Language(s): Dutch, Middle (dum)
                            German, Middle High (gmh)
                            German, Middle Low (gml)


There is funding from the Ghent University Research Fund (BOF) for a PhD student within the field of Historical Syntax, on a project aiming to elucidate instances of continued presence of a single preverbal negation marker in the Continental West Germanic languages after they are already making or even have made the transition to stage III (bipartite or single post verbal negation).
All West Germanic languages have undergone Jespersen's cycle, the directional development of the expression of negation by which an original preverbal negation particle (e.g. Old English ne) - stage I - is first joined by an adverbial element (e.g. Old/Middle English ne…na/ne … no(wi)ht) - stage II - and ultimately replaced by it (e.g. English not) - stage III. The point of transition to stage III varies from language to language (already around 1300 in Middle High German, after 1600 in northern, and only from 1800 on in southern Dutch).
While most contributions to date focus on the circumstances of the rise of the postverbal particle, very little has so far been said about the fate of the original preverbal element after the (near) completion of Jespersen's Cycle other than that it is replaced by a new marker in the expression of sentential negation. The general impression is that it quietly disappears from the language in question. However, as recent studies have shown, residual ne/en entered a (temporary but) sometimes rather extended career after the completion of Jespersen's Cycle in different West Germanic languages, developing as yet poorly understood new functions. It is the aim of the proposed project to identify and analyse the syntax and semantics of constructions in Middle High German, Middle Low German, and Middle Dutch with what appears to be residual stage I at a point when the language in question has already reached stage II or even III of Jespersen's Cycle.

The funding covers a bursary grant for 48 months for a PhD student entering at MA level.

Previous experience with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German and Middle High German, or a subset of these languages will be an advantage.

The position can start at the earliest start from 1 February 2015, and must be filled before 30 September 2015.

How to Apply:
Applications containing a CV and a cover letter specifying the qualification of the candidate for this project, as well as any requests for further information should be sent to Anne Breitbarth (see address below).

Applications Deadline: 01-May-2015

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Prof. Anne Breitbarth
        Dept. of Linguistics, Ghent University
        Blandijnberg 2
        Ghent 9000

Contact Information:
        Anne Breitbarth

Page Updated: 02-Dec-2014