Presentation on theme: "Constraints on the Preposition-Article Contraction in German"— Presentation transcript:
1 Constraints on the Preposition-Article Contraction in German Maria CieschingerFeb 24th, 2007
2 Outline The Problem The Solution what we won’t look at what we will look atThe Solutionmotivationthe generalising usethe specific usethe small-world usethe contextual use
3 The ProblemIn German both the contracted and the un-contracted form of preposition-article combinations is used.(1) Fritz sitzt in dem (*im) Auto, das er sich letzte Woche gekauft hat.(Frizt is sitting in the (*CONTR-in-the) car that he bought last week.)(2) Julius Cäsar starb im (*in dem) März.(Julius Ceasar died CONTR-in-the (*in the) March.)
4 What We Won’t Look atcontractions in colloquial language or certain dialects (e.g. umme Ecke (round the corner), aufer Straße (in the street), inner Uni (at university), etc.)contractions preceding given names and family namescollocations that contain contractions, like im Nachhinein (with hindsight), im Geheimen (in private), im stillen Kämmerlein (when nobody watches you), etc.inner structure of contractions
5 What We Will Look atthe use of un-contracted (e.g. zu der, zu dem, in das, an dem, bei dem, etc.) and contracted forms (e.g. zur, zum, ins, am, beim, etc.) in (a subset of) standard written Germanthe constraints governing the use of contracted and un-contracted forms
6 What We Will Look at(3) Felix and Anna are watching a report about the St.-Marien-Hospital in Osnabrück. Felix says to Anna:Ein Freund von mir arbeitet in dem Krankenhaus.(A friend of mine works in that hospital.)(b) Ein Freund von mir arbeitet im Krankenhaus.(A friend of mine works in a hospital.)-> in dem and im clearly have different meaningsSo, what we need is a theory that accounts for the differences in meaning and in distribution (cf. (1) and (2)).
7 First Steps towards “The Solution” Normally, either the contracted or the un-contracted form is acceptable in a particular sentence. What are the underlying constraints that govern the use of the two forms?If (like in (3)) both forms are acceptable, the two sentences are usually interpreted differently. What is this due to?What linguistic evidence do we have?
8 The SolutionNominals can be used in three different ways: Contextually, “small-worldly”, and generalisingly.Nominals that belong to the contextual and the small-world use refer to a particular object, those that belong to the generalising use do not refer to a particular object.
9 Motivation ... for the three-fold distinction: (4) Fritz ist beim Arzt.(Fritz is CONTR-with-the doctor.)(5) Fritz ist bei dem Arzt.(Fritz is with the doctor.)Let us look at different utterance situations for these sentences.
10 Motivation(4) Fritz ist beim Arzt. (5) Fritz ist bei dem Arzt.(4a) Fritz, Felix and Anna live in a small village. There is only one doctor in that village. Anna asks Felix about Fritz’ whereabouts.(4b) Fritz has been feeling ill for some time and went to see a doctor. Felix tells Anna that.(5a) Felix and Anna are at a party. They both know that there is one doctor at the party and they have been talking about him. When Anna asks him, Fritz tells her that Fritz is talking to that doctor.
11 Motivation(4) Fritz ist beim Arzt. (5) Fritz ist bei dem Arzt.(4a) Felix refers to a particular person, viz. the village’s doctor who plays a unique role in that village (i.e. in a locally restricted domain).(4b) Felix refers to someone or other who fits the description doctor, i.e. he does not refer to a particular person. Determining the referent of the nominal is not necessary.(5a) Felix has a particular person in mind when he utters doctor. In contrast to (4a), here, the nominal is used anaphorically.
12 The Generalising Use... is characterised by the fact that the speaker does not refer to a particular individual, but rather to something or other that fits the used description.... characteristically contains generic statements and/or generic nominals (in the sense of Krifka (1995)).... always requires the contracted form.
13 The Generalising Use (6) Mein Freund arbeitet im Krankenhaus. (My friend works in a hospital.)-> irrelevant which hospital
14 The Generalising Use (7) Cäsar starb im März. (Ceasar died in March.) -> the speaker does not refer to a particular object
15 The Generalising Use(8) Anders als beim Menschen, geht beim Leguan der Kopf einfach in die Schnauze über.(In contrast to humans, the iguana’s head simply merges with the mouth.)-> generic statement (a statement about a generals property of iguanas)-> generic nominal (the nominal refers to the kind Iguana-iguana)
16 The Generalising Use(9) Vom Nachdenken bekommt Paula immer Kopfschmerzen.(Thinking hard always gives Paula a headache.)-> Infinitive-Nominalisations seem to always be used generalisingly.-> But we need a better understanding of the meaning of such nominalisations to make more precise judgements. In other words: I have no idea why they behave this way!
17 The Specific Use ... always refers to a particular object. ... the description does not necessarily have to fit the object that is being referred to.... the descriptive content of the nominal is a tool to enable the audience to pick out the right referent.... contains the contextual and the small-world use.
18 The Small-World Use... refers to a particular object that has a unique function or role in a locally restricted domain or in a (small) community.... contains bridging anaphors and local names.... requires the contracted form.
19 Bridging Anaphors(10) Fritz hat neulich sein altes Radio repariert. Am Verstärker war etwas kaputt gegangen.(The other day, Fritz has repaired his old radio. The amplifier was broken.)-> referent of amplifier has a unique function in a restricted domain only, not generally-> the domain is restricted with the help of the first sentence
20 Local Names... refer unambiguously to a particular object in a restricted domain or in a (small) community.... refer to regions or named buildings. (Here, the community might be rather large.)
21 Local Names (11) Der Sohn vom Bürgermeister wurde gestern verhaftet. (The son CONTR-of-the mayor was arrested yesterday.)-> a city usually has only one mayor-> mayor is used as a name here, but can only be used felicitously in a certain community
22 Local Names (12) Fritz ist beim Arzt. (Fritz is CONTR-with-the doctor.)-> assume there is only one doctor in the village.-> that person performs a unique role in that community and the nominal is used as an unambiguous name to refer to that person
23 Local NamesLet us look at some other nominals that can also be considered as local names.(14) im Irak, im Deutschland der Nachkriegszeit, im südlichen Italien, am Brandenburger Tor, beim Jüdischen Museum, etc.(in Iraq, in post-war Germany, in Southern Italy, at the Brandenburg Gate, in the Jewish Museum, etc.)
24 Local NamesNominals referring to regions or buildings that are usually preceded by the definite article always require the contracted form in the presence of an appropriate preposition (e.g. im Irak, im nahen Osten (in Iraq, in the Middle East)).Nominals that are modified in a certain way in order to single out a particular type also require the contracted form (e.g. im Deutschland der Nachkriegszeit, im südlichen Italien (in post-war Germany, in Southern Italy)).
25 Local NamesHartmann (1980) makes use of a notion rather similar to that of local names:“Einwohner eines Dorfes können auf Grund ihres allgemeinen Wissens über den Gemeinderat, die Kirche, den Pastor [...] reden, Mitglieder einer Famile über den Vater, die Mutter, die Großmutter [...], usw.” (Hartmann (1980): 18)
26 The Small-World UseEvans (2005) developed a small world hypothesis (focussing on the use of the definite article in English):“[In order for the definite article to be used], the scope of its frame of reference must be small enough to single that entity out as more relevant than all others of its type. In this way, an entity designated by the definite article must be locally unique within its frame of reference.” (Frazier (2006): 13)
27 The Small-World UseSometimes the use of a small-world nominal seems to introduce a set of alternatives, but the underlying mechanisms are not clear.(15) Am Kopf des Toten haben wir eine Fraktur festgestellt.(We found a fracture CONTR-on-the head of the body.)
28 The Contextual Use... contains nominals that are used endophorically, anaphorically or deictically.... refers to a particular object.... the descriptive content of the nominal does not have to fit the referent, neither does it indicate a unique function or role of the referent.... requires the un-contracted form.
29 The Contextual Use(16) Ich habe mir dieses Buch von dem (*vom) Mann, der nebenan wohnt geliehen.(I borrowed this book from the (*CONTR-from-the) man who lives next door.)-> endophoric nominals require un-contracted form
30 The Contextual Use(16) Ich habe mir dieses Buch von dem (*vom) Mann, der nebenan wohnt geliehen.(17) Paul hat sich ein Haus gekauft. Zu dem (*Zum) Haus gehört ein riesiger Garten.(Paul bought a house. To the (*CONTR-to-the) house belongs a huge garden.)-> anaphoric nominals require un-contracted form
31 The Contextual Use(16) Ich habe mir dieses Buch von dem (*vom) Mann, der nebenan wohnt geliehen.(17) Paul hat sich ein Haus gekauft. Zu dem (*Zum) Haus gehört ein riesiger Garten.(18) Pointing to a shop:In dem (*Im) Laden kann man Wein kaufen.(They sell wine in the (*CONTR-in-the) shop.)-> deictic nominals require un-contracted form
32 The Contextual Use(19) ... und dann habe ich zu der blöden Kuh gesagt, dass sie mich in Ruhe lassen soll.(... and then I told the stupid cow that she should leave me alone.)-> The descriptive content of the nominal does not have to fit the referent.-> Epithets such as old witch can only be used anaphorically and thus belong to the contextual use.
33 Summary Small-world Use Generalising Use Type of Use of NominalCharacteristicsGeneralising Usespeaker does not refer to a particular objectidentity of referent is irrelevant, but the descriptive content of the nominal has to fit the referentused in generic sentences or as generic nominals- requires contracted formSpecific Use- used to refer to a particular objectSmall-world Uselocal names , bridging anaphors, sometimes induces alternativescan only be used in a restricted domainContextual Useanaphoric, endophoric, deictic nominals- requires un-contracted form
34 Open ProblemsWhy do infinitive-nominalisations always require the contracted form?Why do certain small-world uses of nominal imply alternatives?-> Nonetheless, the presented proposal seems to make the correct predictions for the use of contracted and un-contracted forms in the vast majority of examples.
35 ReferencesFrazier, Lyn, 2006: The big fish in a small pond: Accommodation and the processing of novel definites. (rest unknown, sorry)Hartmann, Dietrich, 1980: Über Verschmelzungen von Präposition und bestimmtem Artikel im Deutschen. In: Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 47:Krifka, Manfred et al., 1995: Genericity. An Introduction. In: Carlson, Gregory N. et al. (eds.), 1995: The Generic Book. University of Chicago Press, Chicago: