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FORMULAICITY, FRAME SEMANTICS, AND PRAGMATICS IN GERMAN BINOMIAL EXPRESSIONS Knud Lambrecht University of California, Berkeley The analysis of formulaic German binomial expressions of the form N und N reveals the following characteristics. The absence of determiners, along with other morphosyntactic and semantic anomalies, makes these phrases non-compositional and thus similar to idioms; but they differ from fixed idiomatic expressions in that their structural pattern can be productively used for the creation of new pairs. These bare binomials are not exhaustively listable lexical items, nor can they be generated by a syntactic conjunction rule. Their formal properties suggest that they are complex word-like expressions— comparable in many ways to nominal compounds and, like compounds, describable by lexical rules. Their creation and use is subject to semantic and pragmatic constraints which can be subsumed under a general principle offrame structure. They can be divided into three main types: (a) lexicalized and irreversible, (b) novel but semantically motivated , and (c) semantically unmotivated but pragmatically constrained. However, sharp lines between lexicalized and novel instances, or between semantically and pragmatically motivated types, cannot be drawn on principled grounds. Bare binomials lend support to a view of language in which the 'generative' and the 'idiomatic' components are two extremes on a continuum, rather than fundamentally distinct phenomena.* Introduction 1. This paper deals with a class of phrases often encountered in German at a certain stylistic level, the basic form of which can be characterized as N(oun) und N(oun). Ex. 1 contains samples of such phrases in actual usage (emphasis supplied): (1) Wallraffs "unerwünschte Reportagen"'Wallraffs "undesirable news reports" are sind unerwünscht nur für die Nutznießerundesirable only for the beneficiaries ofauautorit ärer Strukturen in Arbeitswelt undthoritarian structures in (the) working Sozialgefuge, für die Verteidiger vonworld and (the) social system, for the deRecht und Ordnung auf Kosten vonfenders of law and order at the expense of Freiheit und Gleichheit. (Wallrafffreedom and equality.' 1975:2) The emphasized phrases are short versions of stylistically somewhat lessmarked noun (or prepositional) phrases in which the nouns are preceded by determiners, usually the definite or the generic indefinite article. Ex. G contains the relevant parts of ex. 1 in their ordinary form, i.e. preceded by the appropriate determiners:1 (I') ... in der Arbeitswelt und im Sozialgefüge ... des Rechtes und der Ordnung ... der Freiheit und der Gleichheit. Following an old tradition, revived by Malkiel 1959, 1 will refer to these pairings * This study owes a great deal to the teaching and writings of Charles J. Fillmore; without his influence and advice, it would not have been written. I would also like to thank Pamela Downing, John Haiman, Paul Kay, Edith Moravcsik, and Karl Zimmer for many helpful comments. 1 The fact that, in ex. 1, the second and third noun pairs are preceded by von, whereas in ex. 1 ' the definite article appears in the genitive case without a preposition, results from a case-marking constraint of modern German which is irrelevant for the present example (cf. §2.2). 753 754LANGUAGE, VOLUME 60, NUMBER 4 (1984) of two nouns as binomials. But unlike Malkiel and other writers, who apply the term to paired items of any lexical category (e.g. Eng. bright and rosy, on and off, here and there), I will restrict my attention to sequences of two conjoined nouns. As for the particular binomial construction illustrated in ex. 1, where no determiner precedes the nouns, I will refer to it as a bare binomial (BB).2 There are several reasons for BB's to be of interest to the theoretical linguist. First is the striking fact—to my knowledge neither explained, nor even dealt with, in modern linguistics—that the emphasized phrases in ex. 1 are grammatical only as long as they occur in conjunction. Thus, next to the grammatical BB's in 1, we do not have the corresponding mononomials of the form noun: (2) ... für die Nutznießer autoritärer Strukturen in *Arbeitswelt, für die Verteidiger von *Recht auf Kosten von *Freiheit. From a generative point of view, this entails that the binomials in question cannot be generated by the same mechanism that produces the pairings in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 753-796
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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