Publication details [#59799]

Finkbeiner, Rita. 2015. The grammar and pragmatics of N hin, N her (‘N thither, N hither’) in German. Pragmatics and Society 6 (1) : 89–116.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper investigates the German N hin, N her (‘N thither, N hither’) construction. It first provides a close description of its syntactic and semantic properties, arguing that N hin, N her is a grammatical construction. It then shows that this construction is not entirely idiosyncratic, as there are specific pragmatic aspects contributing to its meaning and functional potential. These are the deictic adverbs hin and her, restrictions on the choice of nouns, and effects of syntactic disintegration. It is argued that a purely semantic analysis of the construction as concessive or concessive conditional is insufficient, as it neglects pragmatic processes of contextual enrichment and implicature. Based on these assumptions, the paper provides a detailed analysis of the discursive and interactional functions of the construction, showing that it is a prime candidate for construing textual coherence and for subjectification and stance taking. Evidence comes from a corpus of newspaper examples.