Article published in:Corpus Studies in Contrastive Linguistics
Edited by Stefania Marzo, Kris Heylen and Gert De Sutter
[Benjamins Current Topics 43] 2012
► pp. 33–62
Contingency hedges in Dutch, French and English
A corpus-based contrastive analysis of the language-internal and -external properties of English depend, French dépendre and Dutch afhangen, liggen and zien
This article reports on a detailed corpus-based and contrastive analysis of the syntactic, semantic and functional properties of English depend, French dépendre and Dutch afhangen, liggen and zien as markers of intersubjectivity. Based on three large-scale monolingual corpora of spoken English, French and Dutch, the results show that these intersubjectivity markers are semantically related to a conditional meaning of the verbs they are based on: viewpoints expressed or asked for in the preceding discourse are presented as valid only in particular circumstances. Furthermore, it is shown that the markers have undergone a process of decategorialisation, as they appear almost exclusively in third person present tense, and as the range of subjects that can be combined with these markers is more restricted than the non-intersubjective uses of these verbs. Finally, a detailed corpus analysis of the Dutch markers shows that their use is mainly determined by regional and functional parameters.
Published online: 05 September 2012