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The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic

Research project
Active research
Project size
6 000 000
Project period
2018 - 2021
Project owner
Department of Languages and Literatures

Short description

The project addresses an understudied case of language change: the rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. This development is present in all Germanic languages, yet the exact outcome of the change is different for each individual language, leading to cross-linguistic variation. The project aims to increase our factual knowledge of the rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic, with an empirical focus on English, Dutch, German and Swedish. It also aims to enhance our understanding of the process of ‘constructional complexification’ which is hypothesized to lie behind the rise of complex verb constructions. Methodologically, it introduces the use of parallel corpora in historical linguistics, compiling a multilingual parallel corpus of historical Bible translations.

Collaboration

The project includes international collaboration with professor Nicoline van der Sijs, previously at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam (2018-2019) and currently at the Dutch Language Institute in Leiden (2020-2021). Two post-doctoral researchers, Dirk-Jan de Kooter and Trude Dijkstra, have been working on the project, both at the Meertens Institute.

EDGeS Diachronic Bible Corpus

The project has compiled the EDGeS Diachronic Bible Corpus, a synchronically and diachronically parallel corpus of Bible translations in English, Dutch, German and Swedish, spanning six and a half centuries. The corpus is available via Språkbanken Text.

Presentations

Evie Coussé (2020) Parallel corpora for historical linguistics. Building a corpus of historical Bible translations in English, Dutch, German and Swedish. Talk at Workshop on Historical Sociolinguistics. Online meeting, 13 November 2020.

Evie Coussé, Gerlof Bouma & Nicoline van der Sijs (2020) The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. A project sketch. Talk for Leiden Utrecht Semantics Happenings (LUSH). Online meeting, 4 May 2020.

Evie Coussé & Gerlof Bouma (2019) The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. A project sketch. Talk for Research Area Linguistic Structures. Göteborg (Sweden), 28 November 2019.

Gerlof Bouma, Evie Coussé, Dirk-Jan de Kooter & Nicoline van der Sijs (2019) Building a Diachronic and Contrastive Parallel Corpus. Poster at Digital Humanities Conference 2019. Utrecht (The Netherlands), 9-12 July 2019.

Evie Coussé (2019) Swedish funding for Dutch historical linguistics. Talk at the Gent-Lancaster Grammar Workshop. Gent (Belgium), 10 May 2019.

Evie Coussé (2019) The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. A project sketch. Talk for the Ghent University Research Group on Linguistic Meaning & Structure (GLMIS) & Diachronic and Diatopic Linguistics Research Group (DiaLing). Gent (Belgium). 26 April 2019.

Evie Coussé & Nicoline van der Sijs (2019) The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. A project sketch. Talk for the Taalcontact Research Meeting at Meertens Instituut. Amsterdam (The Netherlands). 8 April 2019.

Evie Coussé (2019) The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. A project sketch. Talk for the Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics (QLVL) Research Group. Leuven (Belgium). 3 April 2019.

Publications

Evie Coussé (2020) Complex verb constructions in Old Dutch. Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 80, 286-302. [open access draft]

Gerlof Bouma, Evie Coussé, Trude Dijkstra & Nicoline van der Sijs (2020). The EDGeS Diachronic Bible Corpus. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, 5232-5239.