Our paper outlines a contrastive account of cohesive substitution in English and German. We start with a clarification of the relationship between cohesive reference, substitution/ellipsis and lexical cohesion in terms of prototypical lexicogrammatical realizations, semantic functionalities and types of textual and cognitive relations. We then turn to a systemic overview of nominal, verbal and clausal substitution mechanisms and complement it by empirical findings from the GECCo corpus about frequencies of semantic cohesive functions and preferred lexicogrammatical realizations depending on language and register (including originals vs. translations). Finally we provide some initial explanations of our observations and outline how a comparison of English and German substitution relates to generalizations of contrastive grammar and to possible pathways of language contact and change.
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