De aan-constructie in het 17de-eeuwse Nederlands: een semasiologische studieReport as inadecuate

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(2015)TAAL & TONGVAL.67(2).p.211-245 Mark abstract The Dutch aan-construction (e.g. Hij gaf een bos bloemen aan zijn vrouw „He gave a bouquet to his wife‟), the prepositional alternative for the double object construction (Hij gaf zijn vrouw een bos bloemen „He gave his wife a bouquet‟), is a post Middle Dutch innovation (i.e. after 1500 AD). The precise details of the rise of the aan-construction remain, however, understudied. It is for example unclear whether the construction really breaks through in the 17th century, as Weijnen & Gordijn (1970) argue on the basis of a small corpus of farces, and what its semantic range was in those early days. In this paper we try to shed more light on these issues. On the basis of a self-compiled corpus of literary Dutch, we firstly show that the construction was not only already frequently attested in the language use in the 17th century, but also covered a remarkably wide semantic range at that time. Next, via a detailed comparison with data for the 20th century, we show that there have been interesting changes concerning the semantic evolution of the aan-construction. The structural weight of a cluster of „do‟- and „send‟-verbs for example declines over time and at more general level there seems to be a trend towards more abstract uses of the aan-construction. A diachronic collostructional analysis (Hilpert 2006) and Configural Frequency Analysis (von Eye 2002) lends a statistical underpinning to our observations.

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Author: Tim Geleyn and Timothy Colleman



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