Edited by Katrien Beuls and Remi van Trijp
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 30] 2016
► pp. 55–90
Tracking shifts in the literal versus the intensifying fake reflexive resultative construction
The development of intensifying dood ‘dead’ in 19th–20th Century Dutch
This paper explores diachronic shifts in the literal and intensifying uses of dood ‘dead’ in the Dutch fake reflexive resultative construction. Without sufficient context, a clause like Hij werkte zich dood (lit. ‘He worked himself dead’) is ambiguous in that it is unclear whether dood expresses an actual result of the activity denoted by the verb or whether it intensifies that verbal activity. We will investigate shifts in the (relative) type and token frequencies of both subtypes over the last two centuries and show that the intensifying use has become predominant. Particular attention is paid to the notion of productivity, which may help us to elucidate the possible pathways along which dood – in its function as an intensifier – is moving. By taking into account the variety of verbs that dood has occurred with since the early 19th Century, we aim to assess whether the dramatic increase in relative frequency of intensifying dood is paralleled by a concomitant extension of its collocational range or, conversely, whether this increase in frequency is mainly due to the rise of some highly frequent collocations.
Cited by 2 other publications
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