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Areal Convergence in Eastern Central European Languages and Beyond

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Edited By Luka Szucsich, Agnes Kim and Uliana Yazhinova

This book assembles contributions dealing with language contact and areal linguistics. The goal of the book is to investigate linguistic convergence in Europe with a strong focus on the languages of Eastern Central Europe which show many remarkable similarities. The focus is put on a methodical and empirical component in the investigation of two or more languages in the context of possible language contact phenomena. Languages of Eastern Central Europe and adjacent parts of Europe use a considerable amount of common vocabulary due to the transfer of loanwords during a long period of cultural contact. But they also share several grammatical features—phonological, morphological and syntactic ones. This book tackles lexical and grammatical phenomena in language contact situations. The authors take up diachronic, synchronic and language acquisitional perspectives, and discuss methodological problems for the field.

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Variation in Case Government of the Equivalent for the Cognitive Verb to Forget in German in Austria and Czech

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Abstract: This paper investigates the areal variation in case government of the German verb vergessen ‘to forget’ in written standard registers: While the German standard language exclusively recognises constructions with vergessen and a direct argument in accusative, the Austrian standard German accepts constructions with a prepositional argument including the preposition auf ‘on’, too. Already since the 19th century scholars have pointed out a similar grammatical variation in case government for the Czech equivalent zapomínat/zapomenout ‘to forget’, considering the situation in Austrian German to reflect Czech influence. Thus, this paper is a first step in the assessment of the plausibility of the language contact explanation for the respective phenomenon.

The paper employs corpus linguistic methods to first test the hypothesis that the construction with the prepositional argument is typical for German in Austria. Using contemporary German corpora composed of journalistic texts from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, it demonstrates that the construction with the preposition auf ‘on’ occurs considerably more frequently in Austrian texts. Second, the paper evaluates, whether the situation in German in Austria can be attributed to historical language contact. For that purpose, it determines the relations between the two variants of case government and the meaning of the verb in a particular sentence in German in Austria and Czech contrastively.

The analysis of corpora of contemporary journalistic texts from Austria and the Czech Republic shows that the constructions with the prepositional object occur considerably more often with a specific meaning of...

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