2004
Volume 74 Number 2
  • ISSN: 0039-8691
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1214

Abstract

Abstract

The present paper revisits Neuckermans’s (2008) proposal concerning the geographic distribution and diachronic genesis of different functions of the particle , a remnant of Jespersen’s Cycle in the Southern Dutch dialects, and addresses van der Auwera’s (2009) claim that may in some dialects of Dutch have developed into a non-negative marker of clausal subordination at the end of the cycle. Based on a 400,000-word corpus of spontaneous dialect speech data from 65 locations in the southern Dutch dialect area (with an emphasis on West and East Flemish ones) as well as on historical data from the literature, it is concluded that Neuckermans’s implicational hierarchy (a) needs to be revised and (b) cannot not be a reflex of a diachronic retraction scenario, and that (c) an analysis of non-negative as a marker of subordination as proposed by van der Auwera cannot be confirmed for the Southern Dutch dialects more generally. Instead, it is argued that the observable distribution points to the synchronic coexistence of several layers of change that have affected since Middle Dutch, and have led to it having become co-opted as a mirative strategy.

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