Lecouvet,, Mathieu, Degand, Liesbeth, Suñer, Ferran: Syntax-discourse properties of prefield constituents in L2 German expository writing.
This article investigates word order phenomena in nonnative German writing (L1 French, B1-B2 CEFR level). As a morphologically rich language, German allows for word order flexibility to adjust sentence production to discourse context. It follows from this that the sentence-initial position of V2 declaratives, also known as prefield, preferably accommodates constituents that establish a relation to preceding discourse. Drawing on the assumed challenge for learners to deal with constituent ordering at the crossroads between syntax and discourse, the paper presents an analysis of sentence prefields in L1 and L2 writing. Constituent types in prefields indicate that learners have trouble departing from default subject-object/agent-patient orders. At the same time, information structure criteria point to problems of thematic progression in L2 texts.
Maché, Jakob: Braucht das epistemisch zu sein? Wie Infinitivmorphologie, Negation und lexikalische Semantik die Interpretation von Notwendigkeitsverben in Korpusdaten bestimmen.
As is well known since Grimm (1837: 168, 949), Kolb (1964), Folsom (1968) and Scaffidi-Abbate (1973), the verb brauchen developed uses that are reminiscent of the modal verb müssen in formal and semantical respect, at least in negative polar environments. As the status of epistemic (nicht) brauchen has never been investigated in large-scale corpora, it remains contested to date how far it has gone in its grammaticalisation. Whereas some authors doubt that nicht brauchen has already grammaticalised into a fulfledged modal verb, claiming that it cannot be used in an epistemic manner, other studies discuss single authentic corpus examples of epistemic (nicht) brauchen. The overall aim of this study is to identify brauchen’s degree of grammaticalisation and investigate the morphosyntactic factors by which its potential is determined. Relevant conditions involve (i) the effect of a negation on a necessity verb, which according to some authors inhibits an epistemic interpretation (cf. Lyons 1977: 801 or Butler 2003: 984–989), (ii) the effect of the infinitive particle zu (cf. Reis 2001; 2005), which is omitted with brauchen in many spoken varietes making it more similar to müssen and (iii) lexical semantic features. Surprisingly, it turns out that the absence of an infinitive particle does not favour an epistemic interpretation, whereas it was shown that the presence of a negation makes an epistemic interpretation less likely with the closely related modal necessity verb müssen. The fact that epistemic brauchen occurs less than 200 times in the investigated corpora illustrates that it still has not developed a fully productive use for the majority of speakers. However, it turns out that there is a considerable number of speakers who used epistemic brauchen more than once and who account for almost 25 % of the occurences. This most likely to be caused by the lexical semantics of brauchen, which most typically involves a modal source located within its subject referent. Moreover, it appears that Reis’ (2001; 2005) concept of Strong Coherence is another obstacle for brauchen to develop a productive epistemic form.
Thalmann, Maik, Chen, Yuqiu , Müller, Susanne, Paluch, Markus, Antomo, Mailin: Against PCI-GCI uniformity: evidence from deceptive language in German and Chinese.
The discussion on whether some conversational implicatures (CIs) are more ‘default’ than the other has taken place for a long time. While neo-Griceans (NG) insist on the distinction between generalized and particularized CIs, which are said to differ along numerous dimensions, so far, most studies focusing on computational speed showed any enrichment is more costly than the literal understanding, and therefore challenge the distinction between PCIs and GCIs. In this study, a novel approach – deceptive language with false implicatures – was used to test speakers of German and Mandarin Chinese. The main findings show that (i) false GCIs resemble verbal utterances and thus correspond to lies, while PCIs are congruent with non-linguistic deceptions based on actions. We argue that this observation, in opposition to most previous experiments investigating the GCI-PCI complex, supports the theoretical distinction made by NG. (ii) The response behavior of German and Chinese participants seems to be very similar when sociocultural factors are controlled for, suggesting that this pattern is mandated linguistically. Furthermore, two control experiments reveal that the patterns observed are not due to moral judgments but that they were caused by a genuine linguistic distinction.