The Argument Structure of Verbal Anglicisms in German Compared With That of Their English Equivalents

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Lisa Seidel


This paper investigates the argument structure of verbal anglicisms in German compared with that of their English equivalents. It aims at answering the question whether anglicisms in German show the same tendencies as their English counterparts with regard to transitivity, argument realisation and choice of semantic roles or whether deviations between these two sets of verbs which can be explained by cross-linguistic differences between English, the source language, and German, the recipient language, occur. Furthermore, the present study seeks to identify potential differences in the verbs’ degree of integration into the recipient language depending on their frequency of usage. Taking the findings of Holler and Scherer’s (2010) pilot study, which deals with the argument structure of non-native verbs from English, French and Italian in German as a basis, it is hypothesised that the anglicisms in the present study, especially those used frequently in everyday speech, will predominantly follow German native tendencies and thus exhibit deviations from their English equivalents where the systems of the source and the recipient languages differ. The core of this project is a corpus study of 30 anglicisms in German based on COSMAS II (“Cosmas2/Web-App”, Institut für Deutsche Sprache, 1991-2016), a full-text data base and web application for linguistic research within the corpora of the Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS) (primarily Das Deutsche Referenzkorpus (DeReKo, “Kl/Projekte/Korpora”, Institut für Deutsche Sprache, 2018), and a comparison of these anglicisms with a sample of their verbal equivalents in English on the basis of information listed in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) (OED Online, Proffitt, 2015). The anglicisms to be examined in German are taken from the Anglizismenindex, a list of words compiled by Verein Deutsche Sprache (VDS), Sprachkreis Deutsch and Verein Muttersprache (Verein Deutsche Sprache, “Denglisch-und-Anglizismen/Anglizismenindex/Ueber den Index”, 2018).

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Seidel, L. (2020). The Argument Structure of Verbal Anglicisms in German Compared With That of Their English Equivalents. Mannheim Papers in Multilingualism, Acquisition and Change, 1, 113–208.
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