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Grammar between Norm and Variation


Alexandra N. Lenz and Albrecht Plewnia

The articles collected in this volume offer the most various access to the discussed questions on norm and variation. In their entirety, they reflect the current discussion of the topic. Focusing on the object languages German and English ensures a high level of topical consistency. On the other hand, the four large topic areas (emergence and change of norms and grammatical constructions; relationship of codes of norms and ‘real’ language usage; competition of standard and non-standard language norms; and subsistent norms of minority languages and «institutionalised second-language varieties») cover a large range of relevant issues, thereby certainly giving an impetus to new and further investigations.


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Petra Campe: Syntactic variation in German adnominal constructions: An application to the alternatives ‘genitive’, ‘apposition’ and ‘compound' 193


Petra Campe (Ghent) Syntactic variation in German adnominal constructions An application to the alternatives ‘genitive’, ‘apposition’ and ‘compound’ 1. Introduction This paper will illustrate the idea that paradigmatic variation, the network of re- lated structures expressing a similar meaning, can be used as a heuristic tool to identify the prototypical semantics of a certain construction. The case study in- volves syntactic variation between the German adnominal genitive and apposi- tion on the one hand, and between the genitive and compound on the other. On the basis of a small but fairly representative data base, I intend to argue that an important driving force behind this and probably other types of lexico-syntactic variation is conceptual differentiation. In both cases, alternation is possible, yet a systematic confrontation of the constructions shows that it is subject to a number of restrictions. To express adnominal relations in German a number of alternating construc- tions are available such as bare morphological cases, in particular the genitive case as in example (1), prepositions (2), and more peripheral constructions such as apposition (3) or compound (4)1: (1) die dunklen Augen desGen jungen Arztes (Ks:311) ‘the eyes of the young doctor’ (2) die Menschen imPrep Dorf (Ks:56) ‘the people in the village’ (3) in Richtung ParlamentspalastApp (Pf:143) ‘in direction parliament palace’ (4) AnanassaftComp (Ks:14) ‘pineapple juice’ Although linguistic literature often mentions this alternation, no preferential norms are stated. Instead only prototypical tendencies towards a certain con- struction in certain contexts are given (e.g....

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