LINGUIST List 31.1558

Sat May 09 2020

Qs: Non-manner HOW clauses across languages

Editor for this issue: Yiwen Zhang <>

Date: 16-Apr-2020
From: Carla Umbach <>
Subject: Non-manner HOW clauses across languages
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dear colleagues,

I'm currently working on ''non-manner HOW clauses'', more precisely, subordinate clauses introduced by a manner question word which do not have a manner meaning. In (1) and (2) examples from English and German are shown.
(1 They told me how the tooth fairy doesn’t really exist.
‘They told me that the tooth fairy doesn’t really exist.’ (Legate 2010)

(2)Anna sah, wie Berta hastig ihre Tasche packte.
Lit: Anna saw how Berta hastily her bag packed.
'Anna saw Berta hastily packing her bag.' (Umbach et al. submitted)

It appears that such uses of HOW clauses exist in other languages, too. I would be very happy to learn about other languages exhibiting this phenomenon and about references. (Contributors you will of course be mentioned in my paper.)

Carla Umbach
ZAS Berlin / University of Cologne,

Legate, J. A. (2010) On how how is used instead of that. Natural Language & Linguist Theory 28: 121–134.
Umbach C., Hinterwimmer St., Gust H. (submitted) German 'wie'-complements: Manners, methods and events in progress

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Page Updated: 09-May-2020