This paper aims at a comparative analysis of “partitive markers” in the Germanic noun phrase, both in a diachronic and a diatopic perspective. In older Germanic, as in other Indo-European languages, one of the functions of genitive case within the dp is the marking of (pseudo-)partitivity. So-called independent partitive genitives are abundantly attested for Old and Middle High German. The decline of the genitive case necessarily led to the loss of the possibility to express part-whole relations. Some modern varieties of Continental West Germanic, however, exhibit remnants of this use of genitive forms, such as Walliser and Walser German dialects as well as Luxembourgish. In other varieties, the loss of the genitive led to the development of new markers or the reuse of forms, such as the preposition von/van ‘from, of’ in Southern Rhine Franconian or Dutch. In many contexts, the Germanic markers pattern with the so-called “partitive article” in French and Italian, which raises the question of the possible role of contact given that several of the varieties investigated are situated in the Germanic-Romance contact zone. We will take a closer look at the formation and the functions of these structures, in order to better understand their distribution and semantics, not least in comparison with bare noun phrases. Finally, we will draw a parallel to the corresponding pronouns.

The Rise and Fall of Partitive Markers in Some Germanic Varieties

Thomas Strobel
;
Elvira Glaser
2021-01-01

Abstract

This paper aims at a comparative analysis of “partitive markers” in the Germanic noun phrase, both in a diachronic and a diatopic perspective. In older Germanic, as in other Indo-European languages, one of the functions of genitive case within the dp is the marking of (pseudo-)partitivity. So-called independent partitive genitives are abundantly attested for Old and Middle High German. The decline of the genitive case necessarily led to the loss of the possibility to express part-whole relations. Some modern varieties of Continental West Germanic, however, exhibit remnants of this use of genitive forms, such as Walliser and Walser German dialects as well as Luxembourgish. In other varieties, the loss of the genitive led to the development of new markers or the reuse of forms, such as the preposition von/van ‘from, of’ in Southern Rhine Franconian or Dutch. In many contexts, the Germanic markers pattern with the so-called “partitive article” in French and Italian, which raises the question of the possible role of contact given that several of the varieties investigated are situated in the Germanic-Romance contact zone. We will take a closer look at the formation and the functions of these structures, in order to better understand their distribution and semantics, not least in comparison with bare noun phrases. Finally, we will draw a parallel to the corresponding pronouns.
2021
Disentangling Bare Nouns and Nominals Introduced by a Partitive Article
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5046866
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