Changes in argument structure: The case of Dutch vernieuwen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

English is often contrasted with German and Dutch when it comes to the semantic roles that the subject can express (Hawkins 1986; Los & Dreschler 2012). Specifically, English seems to have more middles (She photographs well) and allows for unusual inanimate subjects (The cottage sleeps four). However, it seems that the semantics of the grammatical subject in Dutch are also changing, as witnessed by recent examples from websites and advertisements, such as Uw fietsenstalling verbetert and Presikhaaf vernieuwt. Although these sentences do not have the adverb that is typical of middles in Dutch (Broekhuis, Corver & Vos 2015: 455ff.), they meet several other requirements for middle formation. In this paper, I analyse examples with one such verb, vernieuwen, and identify two different types of intransitive uses for this predominantly transitive verb. I argue that ambiguity, analogy and genre all play an important role in this change in argument structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
JournalLinguistics in the Netherlands
Volume36
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Fingerprint

semantics
sleep
website
genre
Grammatical Subject
Sleep
Web Sites
Semantic Roles
Verbs
Intransitive
Adverb
Cottage
Transitive Verb
Argument Structure

Keywords

  • middles, semantic roles, analogy, subject,

Cite this

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title = "Changes in argument structure: The case of Dutch vernieuwen",
abstract = "English is often contrasted with German and Dutch when it comes to the semantic roles that the subject can express (Hawkins 1986; Los & Dreschler 2012). Specifically, English seems to have more middles (She photographs well) and allows for unusual inanimate subjects (The cottage sleeps four). However, it seems that the semantics of the grammatical subject in Dutch are also changing, as witnessed by recent examples from websites and advertisements, such as Uw fietsenstalling verbetert and Presikhaaf vernieuwt. Although these sentences do not have the adverb that is typical of middles in Dutch (Broekhuis, Corver & Vos 2015: 455ff.), they meet several other requirements for middle formation. In this paper, I analyse examples with one such verb, vernieuwen, and identify two different types of intransitive uses for this predominantly transitive verb. I argue that ambiguity, analogy and genre all play an important role in this change in argument structure.",
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Changes in argument structure : The case of Dutch vernieuwen. / Dreschler, Gea.

In: Linguistics in the Netherlands, Vol. 36, 2019, p. 116-130.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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