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‘WH-ever’ in German, Dutch and English : a contrastive study showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus

Tom Bossuyt (UGent) and Torsten Leuschner (UGent)
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Abstract
The present paper investigates the English irrelevance particle -ever and its functional equivalents immer/auch in German and (dan) ook in Dutch with regard to their distributional patterns and functional motivations, using data from the small-scale, multilingual, comparative ConverGENTiecorpus in conjunction with larger, non-comparable, monolingual corpora. An overview of the corpora, the search queries and the methods of analysis is provided first. The distributional and combinatorial patterns of irrelevance particles in two types of irrelevance constructions are presented, focusing on Dutch and German, and the present-day dynamics of irrelevance marking are discussed through the differences and similarities of the language-specific particles, including some peculiarities of the much less variable English WH-ever paradigm. A survey of the further grammaticalization of whatever and however and its German and Dutch equivalents is also provided. The results suggest that the synchronic state of the irrelevance-marking subsystems in English, German and Dutch represents snapshots of a long-term grammaticalization process. While this process is nearly complete in English, in German it is not only incomplete but appears to have lost its former directionality. Although signs of grammaticalization are weakest in Dutch W … ook, Dutch W dan ook shows the highest degree of specialization of all irrelevance-marking combinations in the set. English WH-ever is much less versatile, with two notable exceptions: the freestanding discourse marker whatever and the concessive/ contrastive conjunctional adverb and discourse marker however.
Keywords
German, Dutch, English, comparable corpora, monolingual corpora, corpus linguistics

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MLA
Bossuyt, Tom, and Torsten Leuschner. “‘WH-Ever’ in German, Dutch and English : A Contrastive Study Showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus.” New Approaches to Contrastive Linguistics : Empirical and Methodological Challenges, edited by Renata Enghels et al., Mouton De Gruyter, 2019.
APA
Bossuyt, T., & Leuschner, T. (2019). “WH-ever” in German, Dutch and English : a contrastive study showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus. In R. Enghels, J. Marlies, & B. Defrancq (Eds.), New approaches to contrastive linguistics : empirical and methodological challenges. Berlin/Boston: Mouton De Gruyter.
Chicago author-date
Bossuyt, Tom, and Torsten Leuschner. 2019. “‘WH-Ever’ in German, Dutch and English : A Contrastive Study Showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus.” In New Approaches to Contrastive Linguistics : Empirical and Methodological Challenges, edited by Renata Enghels, Jansegers Marlies, and Bart Defrancq. Berlin/Boston: Mouton De Gruyter.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Bossuyt, Tom, and Torsten Leuschner. 2019. “‘WH-Ever’ in German, Dutch and English : A Contrastive Study Showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus.” In New Approaches to Contrastive Linguistics : Empirical and Methodological Challenges, ed by. Renata Enghels, Jansegers Marlies, and Bart Defrancq. Berlin/Boston: Mouton De Gruyter.
Vancouver
1.
Bossuyt T, Leuschner T. “WH-ever” in German, Dutch and English : a contrastive study showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus. In: Enghels R, Marlies J, Defrancq B, editors. New approaches to contrastive linguistics : empirical and methodological challenges. Berlin/Boston: Mouton De Gruyter; 2019.
IEEE
[1]
T. Bossuyt and T. Leuschner, “‘WH-ever’ in German, Dutch and English : a contrastive study showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus,” in New approaches to contrastive linguistics : empirical and methodological challenges, R. Enghels, J. Marlies, and B. Defrancq, Eds. Berlin/Boston: Mouton De Gruyter, 2019.
@incollection{8610384,
  abstract     = {The present paper investigates the English irrelevance particle -ever and its functional equivalents immer/auch in German and (dan) ook in Dutch with regard to their distributional patterns and functional motivations, using data from the small-scale, multilingual, comparative ConverGENTiecorpus in conjunction with larger, non-comparable, monolingual corpora. An overview of the corpora, the search queries and the methods of analysis is provided first. The distributional and combinatorial patterns of irrelevance particles in two types of irrelevance constructions are presented, focusing on Dutch and German, and the present-day dynamics of irrelevance marking are discussed through the differences and similarities of the language-specific particles, including some peculiarities of the much less variable English WH-ever paradigm. A survey of the further grammaticalization of whatever and however and its German and Dutch equivalents is also provided. The results suggest that the synchronic state of the irrelevance-marking subsystems in English, German and Dutch represents snapshots of a long-term grammaticalization process. While this process is nearly complete in English, in German it is not only incomplete but appears to have lost its former directionality. Although signs of grammaticalization are weakest in Dutch W … ook, Dutch W dan ook shows the highest degree of specialization of all irrelevance-marking combinations in the set. English WH-ever is much less versatile, with two notable exceptions: the freestanding discourse marker whatever and the concessive/ contrastive conjunctional adverb and discourse marker however.},
  author       = {Bossuyt, Tom and Leuschner, Torsten},
  booktitle    = {New approaches to contrastive linguistics : empirical and methodological challenges},
  editor       = {Enghels, Renata and Marlies, Jansegers and Defrancq, Bart},
  issn         = {2199-3734},
  keywords     = {German,Dutch,English,comparable corpora,monolingual corpora,corpus linguistics},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {30},
  publisher    = {Mouton De Gruyter},
  series       = {Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs},
  title        = {‘WH-ever’ in German, Dutch and English : a contrastive study showcasing the ConverGENTiecorpus},
  year         = {2019},
}