Umbach, Carla, Hinterwimmer, Stefan and Gust, Helmar (2022). German wie-complements Manners, methods and events in progress. Nat. Lang. Linguist. Theory, 40 (1). S. 307 - 344. DORDRECHT: SPRINGER. ISSN 1573-0859

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In German, complement clauses embedded by the wh-word wie ('how') have two different readings. The first is a manner reading expressing a manner or method of doing something. The second is called eventive in this paper because it expresses an event in progress instead of a manner. Ruling out ambiguity of wie, the question arises of why a manner word is used to express an event in progress. The basic semantic hypothesis in this paper is that wie expresses similarity (as it does in, e.g., similes). The paper starts from the observation that in the manner reading wie has a base position next to the verb and is a modifier of the event type whereas in the eventive reading it is base-generated above VP and thus adds information about the event token. The analysis includes two components: First, manners are considered as sets of similar events (instead of primitive objects), and methods, in particular, are considered as sets of similar sequences of subevents. Secondly, events in progress are seen as initial sequences in sets of similar natural continuations. From this point of view, an event in progress is like a method comprising sequences of subevents that share the same initial part. This analysis provides a semantic interpretation explaining why the wh-word wie expresses both the regular manner reading and the eventive reading depending on whether it modifies the event type or the event token.

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-586349
DOI: 10.1007/s11049-021-09508-z
Journal or Publication Title: Nat. Lang. Linguist. Theory
Volume: 40
Number: 1
Page Range: S. 307 - 344
Date: 2022
Publisher: SPRINGER
Place of Publication: DORDRECHT
ISSN: 1573-0859
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Linguistics; Language & LinguisticsMultiple languages


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