von Arnulf Deppermann, Arne Zeschel & Felix Bildhauer sowie Nadine Proske auf der 8th International Conference on Construction Grammar, 5.9.2014, Osnabrück

Arnulf Deppermann, Arne Zeschel & Felix Bildhauer: "German mental verbs across modes, domains and genres". Vortrag im Rahmen des Panels "Modelling Genre/Register in Grammar: Constructions, Frames or Both?"

The paper investigates argument structure variation for three German mental verbs (wissen ‘know’, denken ‘think’, meinen ‘mean’) in different communicative settings. Mental verbs belong to the most commonly used verbs in spoken German. Prior research has proved the existence of constructional patterns which are peculiar to their use in oral interaction (cf. Imo 2007), but it has not yet been studied how constructional variation is systematically related to contextual factors. To test this, we explore constructional variation for each verb in different modes (written vs. medially written but conceptually oral vs. spoken) and, for the spoken data, different communicative domains (private conversation vs. institutional interaction  vs.  public  speech)  and,  on  the  most  fine-­‐grained   level,  genres  (e.g.  for institutional interaction: university vivas vs. school lessons vs. police interrogations vs. work meetings).  Our  objective  is  to  discover  which  aspects  of  the  observed  variation  are accounted for by the parameters mode, communicative domain, and genre.   This inquiry into sources of constructional variation rests on statistical analysis of larger sets of data. In a second step, we adopt a more fine-­‐grained, local perspective and ask whether and how features  of  sequential  context,  i.e.  the  communicative actions  and  sequential  positions explain specific preconditions and discourse functions of individual constructional patterns (possibly independent from domain and genre).
In  the  first  step,  300  instances  of  each  verb  in  each  of  the  six  (sub-­‐)corpora  are  coded  for morphological, syntactic and lexical co-­‐occurrence properties. Data come from FOLK, the German national conversation corpus hosted at the Institut für Deutsche Sprache (Deppermann & Hartung 2011), from the ‘science’ and ‘belles lettres’ strata of the DWDS core corpus and from DECOW2012-­‐QS (Schäfer & Bildhauer 2012), a subset of the DECOW2012 corpus consisting of ‘quasi-­‐spontaneous’ text without extensive editing (mostly chat  transcripts/logs  and  unmoderated  forum  discussions).  Constructional  patterns  and cross-­‐corpus similarities are identified by exploratory quantitative analyses. In the second step,  selected  instances  in  the  spoken  data  are  subjected  to  interactional  linguistic qualitative analysis. Finally, implications of our findings for the relationship between constructions and various orders of discursive context and pertinent issues of corpus design and stratification are discussed.

  • Deppermann, A. & Hartung, M. 2011. Was gehört in ein nationales Gesprächskorpus? Kriterien, Probleme und Prioritäten der Stratifikation des „Forschungs-­‐ und Lehrkorpus Gesprochenes Deutsch" (FOLK) am Institut für Deutsche Sprache (Mannheim). In: Felder, E., Müller, M. & Vogel, F., eds. Korpuspragmatik. Thematische Korpora als Basis diskurslinguistischer Analysen, 414–450. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.
  • Imo, W. 2007. Construction Grammar und Gesprochene-­‐Sprache-­‐Forschung. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  • Schäfer, R. & Bildhauer, F. 2012. Building large corpora from the web using a new effcient tool chain. in: Calzolari, N. et al., eds. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'12), Istanbul, ELRA, 486–493.

Nadine Proske: The kommen-und-VP construction in spoken German

While there are numerous studies on the English pseudo-coordination construction (V and V) and several lexically specific subconstructions thereof (e.g. come and V, go and V, try and V) from the viewpoint of both corpus linguistic and interactional approaches (e.g. Barth-Weingarten/Couper-Kuhlen 2011; Hopper 2008; Newman/Rice 2008; Stefanowitsch 2000; Wulff 2006), possible German equivalents have been mentioned (Lehmann 1991: 20f.), but not studied empirically to date. In German, the verb occurring most frequently as the first verb of the construction [SUBJ VP und VP] is kommen (‘come’).
(1)    dann kommt halt die poliZEI, und lässt ihn BLAsen,
        then comes modal particle the police and lets him blow
        ‘Then the police comes and asks him to blow into a breathalyzer.’ (FOLK_00055, c56)
(2)    da: (.) kommt ja der vAter von dem ANdern und SACHT ähm– (.) ach_s könn wa doch gut NUTzen,
        there comes modal particle the father of the other and says um oh it can we modal particle well use
        ‘The father of the other one (comes and) says: Oh, we can use that very well.’ (FOLK_00058, c1028)
Therefore, this verb has been chosen as a starting point for the corpus-based identification of VP-und-VP constructions in spoken German. The pilot study analyzes all instances of the kommen-und-VP (sub)construction found in the German national conversation corpus FOLK (compiled at the Institut für Deutsche Sprache, cf. Deppermann/Hartung 2012), which currently consists of 100 hours of transcribed interactions in various settings.
Based on a description of the formal and functional range of the construction, i.e. possible and frequent lexical fillings and semantic types as well as prosodic, pragmatic and interactional features, reasons for assuming a lexically specific construction [ADV kommen SUBJ und VP] will be discussed: 1) Semantic bleaching – in many cases, kommen does not denote a motion event (and also does not have any of the verb’s other conventional meanings) (cf. (1) vs. (2) above). 2) Specific pragmatic function – kommen mainly serves to (re-)introduce an animate referent about which the second VP contains the relevant predication. 3) Specific form – The subject is almost always realized post-verbally if it is a lexical NP, while the position before the verb is occupied by a temporal or local adverbial (often da (‘there’) or dann (‘then’)). Moreover, the most frequent verb in the second VP is sagen (‘say’), followed by quoted speech as its direct object (cf. (2)), indicating another pragmatic specialization.

  • Barth-Weingarten, Dagmar/Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth (2011): Action, prosody and emergent constructions: The case of and. In: Auer, Peter/Pfänder, Stefan (eds.), Constructions – emerging and emergent. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter.
  • Deppermann, Arnulf/Hartung, Martin (2012): Was gehört in ein nationales Gesprächskorpus? Kriterien, Probleme und Prioritäten der Stratifikation des „Forschungs- und Lehrkorpus Gesprochenes Deutsch“ (FOLK) am Institut für Deutsche Sprache (Mannheim). In: Felder, Ekkehard/Müller, Marcus/Vogel, Friedemann (eds.), Korpuspragmatik. Thematische Korpora als Basis diskurslinguistischer Analysen. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 414–450.
  • Hopper, Paul (2008): Emergent serialization in English: Pragmatics and typology. In: Good, Jeff (ed.), Linguistic Universals and Language Change. Oxford: OUP, 253-284.
  • Lehmann, Christian (1991): Grammaticalization and related changes in contemporary German. In: Traugott, Elizabeth C./Heine, Bernd (eds.), Approaches to Grammaticalization. Vol. II: Focus on Types of Grammatical Markers. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 493-535.
  • Newman, John/Rice, Sally (2008): Asymmetry in English multi-verb sequences. A corpus-based approach. In: Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, Barbara (ed.), Asymmetric Events. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 3–23.
  • Stefanowitsch, Anatol (2000): The English GO-(PRT)-AND-VERB construction. BLS 26: 259–270.
  • Wulff, Stefanie (2006): Go-V vs. go-and-V in English: A case of constructional synonymy? In: Gries, Stefan Th./Stefanowitsch, Anatol (eds.), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics. The Syntax-Lexis Interface. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 101-125.