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  • Slavic and German in contact: Studies from areal and contrastive linguistics ed. by Elżbieta Kaczmarska and Motoki Nomachi
  • Krzysztof E. and Alexandra
Elżbieta Kaczmarska and Motoki Nomachi eds. Slavic and German in contact: Studies from areal and contrastive linguistics. Sapporo: Slavic Research Center, 2014. 165 pp. [Slavic Eurasian studies, 26.]

The 26th volume of Slavic Eurasian studies considers language contact between Slavic and German. The articles in this volume deal with the influence of German on topics ranging from clitics to morphology to the verbal system to the lexicon. The contributors and editors are to be applauded for their effort to examine not only the commonly recognized standard Slavic languages but also languages which do not enjoy the same status within the Slavic family: Burgenland Croatian, Kashubian (with data from extinct Slovincian), and Silesian.

The opening article by Andreja Žele and Eva Sicherl represents an attempt at a contrastive description of the relationship between prefixes and prepositions occurring with verbs (including their valency structure) in Slovenian and German. A new classification of prefixed verbs based on transformations is introduced. The classification includes prefixed verbs in which (i) the prefix has adverbial meaning, (ii) the prefix can be derived from a similarly-sounding preposition, and (iii) there is a prepositional phrase with a paraphrase of the main verb in the semantic structure. It is often the case that German translations of such verbs are also prefixed and allow for similarly structured paraphrases. Consequently, a similar classification of German prefixed verbs is possible as well. Along with the analysis, abundant examples in both German and Slovenian are provided. Similarities between South and West Slavic material (e.g., Slvn položiti na mizo ‘to put back in its place’ Pol położyć na miejsce, Slvn prenočiti v koči ‘to spend the night in a cabin’ Pol przenocować w chacie, etc.) open the door to a broader and contrastive study of relations between prefixed and prepositional verbs in Slavic and German.

Motoki Nomachi, exploring Germanic influence on Kashubian, argues that it possesses four of the five characteristics of non-pro-drop languages, while all other Slavic languages, with the exception of Russian, [End Page 313] are pro-drop. Supporting this point, the author claims that the past-tense form jô ø bëł ‘I was’ is inherently Slavic, while the presence of a personal pronoun, a non-pro-drop feature, reflects Germanic influence. Nomachi argues that while Polish, the most closely related language to Kashubian, may also include a personal pronoun in the same environment, its presence makes the construction emphatic, while Kashubian does not share this distinction. According to Breza and Treder (1981: 133), the past tense construction jô jem bëł (‘I was’) is an archaic feature of spoken Kashubian. Since the masculine past participle form is the same for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sg. (bëł), it is possible personal pronouns are simply used to mark grammatical persons when their reference cannot be deduced from the context. That is not to say the influence of German had nothing to do with this particular construction. In order to establish its origin, more comparative work, including work on regional varieties of Polish, is needed. For example, in a south-eastern variety of Polish near Rzeszów, constructions such as jå był, my byli are not infrequent.1

Changes in the verbal and nominal system are the topic of Milivoj Alanović’s article on Germanisms in Serbian. One of the aims of the study is to present morphological characteristics of German borrowings from a synchronic perspective. The author demonstrates how certain linguistic features such as binominal constructions and syntagms with an indeclinable adjective emerged through language contact. One of the innovations is a semantic change in prepositional constructions, [End Page 314] e.g., kafa za poneti ‘a coffee to go’ (cf. German Kaffee zum Mitnehmen). Changes in verbal periphrases such as dati piti ‘to give something to drink’ (cf. German zu trinken geben) is another layer of comparison that Alanović concentrates on. He concludes that while contact-induced alternations in Serbian are an ongoing process, English is replacing German in this capacity.

Agnieszka Tambor examines...


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pp. 313-318
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