Van (neutraal) tussenwerpsel naar (positief ) evaluatief adjectief: - ça va en oké in het Nederlands | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729


The present paper discusses the syntactic reanalysis and subsequent actualisation of (‘okay’) that has recently taken place in (Belgian) Dutch, and that of OK/ in (Standard) Dutch, revealing how these two expressions have evolved quite comparatively. Both start out as interjections, but then set out to be used as predicative adjectives (N is / oké), and subsequently move into attributive position. Moreover, in Belgian Dutch, can also be used as an adverbial modifier of an adjective. Strikingly, both and oké (but in particular) have also undergone a semantic evolution, in which they shift from the meaning ‘mediocre, more or less’, to ‘good’. As such, the actualisation proves to be the catalyst for further grammaticalisation, which is particularly true for the adverbial use of moving towards an intensifier. The study confirms that syntactic reanalysis and actualisation are driven by analogy (see also De Smet 2012); at the same time, it raises important theoretical questions as to the nature of grammaticalisation, especially in view of the emergence of new constructions with new (unpredictable) meanings.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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