Article published in:Argument Realisation in Complex Predicates and Complex Events: Verb-verb constructions at the syntax-semantic interface
Edited by Brian Nolan and Elke Diedrichsen
[Studies in Language Companion Series 180] 2017
► pp. 43–77
Pleonasm in particle verb constructions in German
Verbs with separable prefixes are one of many existing realisations of discontinuous complex predicates in German. Their syntactic structure follows the widely described sentence bracket structure, in that the finite verb base opens the bracket at the second position in the sentence, while the separable prefix, which is also called particle, closes it. Between the two brackets, the main information of the sentence is placed in a Theme-Rheme sequence, as the word order within the brackets is free. It can be shown that the verb base – particle combination in separable prefix verbs is quite productive, in that the selection of the respective particle is not entirely determined by the verb base. Also, particles may appear freely, which means that in non-finite occurrences, they can be found detached from the verb base orthographically, and they may also appear on their own, carrying a semantic residue from one of their verb-particle combination options. The chapter will explore one particular kind of separable prefix construction that has not received much attention in the literature so far. These are constructions with a separable prefix that repeats locative or directional information given in a prepositional phrase in the same sentence. Such Pleonastic Particle Constructions, as we will call them, appear in varying degrees of productivity. Using Talmy’s theory of the windowing of attention in a motion event frame, we will argue that generally, the particle can be assumed to be the redundant element, while the PP carries vital information about PATH and GROUND in a MOTION event. We will offer an explanation for the appearance of the redundant particle on the basis of that theory as well, which will also enable us to account for one interesting aspect of these Pleonastic Particle Constructions, which is that they cannot be used when the PP and/or the particle in the sentence are used figuratively.
Published online: 26 January 2017
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