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Holler, Anke: Reanalyzing German Correlative es

The present article discusses several aspects of the so-called correlate-es construction in German. This complex clausal construction can be identified by a correlative nominal element es ('it’) occuring in the matrix clause and a right-peripheral full clausal argument linked to es. The article supports the hypothesis that correlative es has a janus-faced nature between an expletive and a referential meaning. This is the reason why existing approaches are not sufficient to capture the properties of the discussed construction in its entirety. The first part of the article sums up the common view on correlative es including the empirical properties of the construction as well as a brief survey of the relevant previous approaches trying to account for correlative es. Based on new empirical data, the second part of the article shows that none of these accounts is able to capture all relevant facts of the correlate-es construction because existing approaches usually ignore that the realization of correlative es is verb-class dependent. Hence, a new constraint-based analysis is developed that takes both empirical observations into account, the verb-class dependence and the janus-faced nature.

Maintained by Stefan Müller

Created: October 15, 2013
Last modified: January 09, 2019

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