Chapter published in:Chapters of Dependency Grammar: A historical survey from Antiquity to Tesnière
Edited by András Imrényi and Nicolas Mazziotta
[Studies in Language Companion Series 212] 2020
► pp. 189–214
Chapter 6Franz Kern
An early dependency grammarian
An examination of Franz Kern’s main works (1883a, 1883b, 1884, 1886, 1888) quickly reveals that his concept of sentence structure is closely similar to many modern analyses in the tradition of dependency grammar (DG). Kern took the finite verb as the sentence root and positioned the subject and object phrases as equi-level dependents of the verb in a like manner. In so doing, he was rejecting the binary subject-predicate division associated with the works of some of his contemporaries, most notably, Reed and Kellogg (1876). The aspect of Kern’s understanding of sentence structure that is particularly valuable in tracing the development of dependency syntax was his use of sentence diagrams. Kern produced numerous diagrams that are similar to the stemmas Tesnière used approximately 60 years later. Thus, Kern’s works on sentence structure stand as a particularly clear manifestation of dependency syntax long before dependency grammar became associated primarily with Tesnière’s efforts (1953, 1959). Interestingly, Tesnière did not cite Kern. This situation raises a basic question about whether Tesnière knew about Kern’s works at all, or whether he was indirectly influenced by Kern through the ideas of other German grammarians following in a tradition that Kern had helped establish many decades earlier.
- 2.Aspects of Kern’s DG
- 2.1Finite verbs and complex predicates
- 2.2Prepositions and subordinators
- 2.3Secondary predicates
- 3.Kern’s impact
- 4.Who influenced Kern?
- 5.Kern vs. Tesnière
- 6.Summary and concluding comments
Published online: 06 February 2020
A. Primary sources
Clark, S. W.
Green, H. R.
Reed, A., & Kellogg, B
B. Critical sources
Helbig, G., & Buscha, J.
Cited by 3 other publications
Imrényi, András & Zsuzsa Vladár
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