Particle verbs with weg‑ in German: a constructional analysis

DOI : 10.54563/lexique.786

p. 35‑62

Abstracts

The aim of this paper is to provide an analysis of German particle verbs with the particle weg‑ ‘away’ as in Tattoos weglasern (lit. ‘to laser tattoos away’ within the framework of Construction Grammar (Goldberg, 1995, 2006; Ziem & Lasch, 2013). The meaning of German weg‑verbs often being non‑compositional, morpho‑lexical approaches turn out to be unable to properly account for the meaning of weg‑constructions. The constructionist approach allows us to shed light on the relationship between morphology and syntax within weg‑constructions and to account for both lexicalised and non‑lexicalised instances of verbs with weg‑. The analysis is based on the distinction between transitive and reflexive weg‑constructions, which can occur as caused‑motion and resultative constructions. The discussion of various variants of the German weg‑construction suggests that the weg‑constructions under investigation are linked to each other in a family of constructions.

Cet article propose une analyse des verbes à particule allemands avec la particule weg‑, tels que dans Tattoos weglasern ‘faire disparaître les tatouages au laser’, dans le cadre théorique de la Grammaire de construction(s) (Goldberg, 1995, 2006 ; Ziem & Lasch, 2013). Le sens des verbes allemands avec weg‑ ne peut être rendu uniquement par l’analyse morpho‑lexicale du verbe et de la particule. En incluant dans la description d’autres éléments présents dans des unités de forme et de sens plus larges que le verbe, la Grammaire de construction(s) permet de montrer la relation entre morphologie et syntaxe au sein des constructions et de décrire les instances lexicalisées et non lexicalisées des verbes avec weg‑. Cette analyse constructionnelle s’appuie sur la distinction entre les constructions transitives et réflexives. Elle rend compte de la diversité des instances des constructions allemandes avec weg‑, des similitudes et différences entre celles‑ci, et montre qu’elles sont reliées entre elles dans une famille de constructions.

Outline

Editor's notes

Received: December 2020 / Accepted: March 2021
Published online: July 2021

Text

1. Introduction1

Constructions with particle verbs are frequent and productive in German and therefore contribute to the expansion of the German lexicon. These verbs have been the subject of morphological and structural studies (for a discussion, see amongst others Krause, 2011; Müller, 2002) and in recent years they have been examined within the framework of Construction Grammar (see, for example, Goldberg (2016) for English; Olofsson (2014) for Swedish; Knobloch (2009), Dewell (2011), (2015), Felfe (2012), (2018), Gerdes (2012/2015), Dalmas & Gautier (2013) and Gallez (2020) for German). Constructions featuring the particle weg‑ ‘away’ are interesting from a constructionist perspective because the weg‑construction is located at the interface between the caused‑motion construction (CMC) and the resultative construction (RES). Moreover, the weg‑construction is productive and features numerous verb classes. This paper analyses the similarities and differences between the variants of the weg‑construction in German and shows how they are linked in a family of constructions.

I will analyse German constructions with verbs where the particle is weg‑, as in examples (1) and (2) below:2

(1)

Nur

Ärzte

dürfen

wohl

bald

Tattoos

weglasern.(GP)

Only

doctors

[may

well

soon

tattoos.ACC

WEG‑laser.INF]

‘Only doctors may soon laser tattoos away.’

(2)

Sie

haben

die Scheidungsgerüchte

weggeküsst. (GP)

They

[have

DET_rumours‑of‑divorce.ACC

WEG‑kiss.PTCP]

‘They have kissed the rumours of divorce away.’

The verbal particle weg‑ is derived from the polysemous adverb weg, which expresses a motion or its result. As a particle, weg‑ can be combined with verbs that do not express any motion or result (change of state), such as küssen ‘to kiss’ in example (2). Such non‑lexicalised3 complex verbs with weg‑ are common in German, especially in spoken language and in the press.

However, the meaning and use of verbs with weg‑ can often not be inferred from the morphological and semantic description of the particle and the verb alone, especially when the particle verb is not lexicalised. It is therefore a question of going beyond the level of the complex verb and taking account of the construction in which this verb is embedded. By assuming a continuum between form and meaning, Construction Grammar (CxG) (Goldberg, 1995, 2006; Ziem & Lasch, 2013) allows for a fine‑grained analysis that considers not only the uses defined in the lexicon, but also usage extensions of the verbs, and therefore supplements the morpho‑lexical approach. This framework is also relevant because it makes it possible to describe transparent and non‑transparent uses of the verbs in the constructions. I will examine how the meaning and use of these verbs are expanded when they occur in specific constructions.

The analysis of the weg‑construction is particularly interesting because of the polysemy of the particle weg‑, the differences in arguments and verb uses in the transitive and reflexive constructions and their interconnection in a family of constructions.

The construction being studied is called “weg‑construction” because the particle weg‑ is the common argument in the instances under investigation. Moreover, in instantiations of the constructions with so‑called passe‑partout verbs,4 the meaning of the particle plays a major role in the definition of the constructional meaning, which in these cases results from the conflation of the meanings of the particle and the construction. Following Kempcke (1965/1966), Knobloch (2009, p. 548) claims that this is especially the case when the meaning of the verb “fades away” in the construction.

Since conventionalised and non‑conventionalised constructions with weg‑verbs are common in the German press, the discussed instantiations of the weg‑construction were extracted from a user‑defined press corpus from the IDS Mannheim (DeReKo).5 The data set was supplemented with additional items from German press articles extracted via Google News.6 Examples from the IDS Mannheim are marked with abbreviations of the newspapers as cited in DeReKo7 and the other examples are marked with GP (German Press). Further examples have been taken from the literature on CxG and/or particle verbs, and are referenced as such.

In the data there are both conventionalised and non‑conventionalised instantiations of the weg‑construction. Among the instantiations discussed, there are CMCs, such as example (3) below with the verb schneiden ‘to cut’, and RES constructions, as in (4):

(3)

Den Spargel

sorgfältig

schälen

und

die holzigen_Enden

wegschneiden. (BRZ06)

The asparagus

carefully

peel

and

[DET_woody_ends.ACC

WEG‑cut.INF]

‘Peel the asparagus carefully and cut away the woody ends.’

We also find innovative instantiations with verbs that denote a new reality (see also new verbs in Olofsson, 2014, p. 15), such as (4) with the verb twittern ‘to tweet’.

Image 10000201000004E7000001008864C1D7EE7980F9.png

Constructions in which a lexicalised verb acquires a new function (in the sense of Olofsson, 2014)8 through embedding in the weg‑construction and whose argument structure is expanded or reduced in this construction are also possible. In (5), (6) and (7), the verbs trinken ‘to drink’ and waschen ‘to wash’ occur with objects that do not belong to the conventionalised objects of these verbs.

(5)

Das

trügerische

Verlangen,

Sorgen

wegzutrinken.9 (BRZ07)

The

deceptive

desire,

[worries.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑drink.INF]

‘The deceptive desire to drink away worries.’

(6)

Dann ein Single,

der

sich

Kummer und Einsamkeit

wegzutrinken

versucht. (BRZ07)

Then a single,

who

[oneself.DAT

sorrow_and_loneliness.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑drink.INF

tries]

‘Then a single person trying to drink away his sorrow and loneliness.’

(7)

Und eine

Million

Regentropfen

konnten

Terrys Trauer

nicht

wegwaschen. (HAZ08)

And a

million

raindrops

[could

Terry's_grief.ACC

NEG

WEG‑wash.INF]

‘And a million raindrops could not wash away Terry's grief.’

The focus in this paper is on these new, less conventionalised or ad hoc instantiations of productive constructions. It is not a question here of deciding or proving whether the instantiations of the constructions under investigation will establish themselves, but rather of shedding light on the potentiality (Gerdes, 2012/2015) of the German language. Hence, I will describe the variety of uses of the particle verbs with weg‑ and the constructional instantiations of these verbs.

This paper is structured as follows. In Section 2, the constructions under scrutiny, i.e., the CMC and the closely related RES construction, are briefly defined. Section 3 looks at the specific characteristics of the weg‑construction. Section 4 shows that there are variants of this construction that are linked to each other in a family of constructions. The conclusion discusses the scope for application and further research.

2. Definition of the constructions

This paper is based on Goldberg’s Construction Grammar framework (1995, 2006) because this approach considers both the CMC and the closely related RES construction, as well as the interaction between these constructions.

According to Goldberg (1995), constructions are form‑meaning pairs that have their own meaning beyond their constituent parts. She further argues that the constructions determine the meaning of the verbs that are embedded in them (1995, p. 4), i.e., through coercion the verb meaning is extended in a systematic way within a given construction. In line with Goldberg, Ziem and Lasch (2013) discuss the following German example:

Image 100002010000049A000000CBE37A85742B33FDDF.png

In (8), the verb husten ‘to cough’ keeps its central meaning but becomes a causative verb through mapping with the meaning of the construction [CAUSE‑MOVE]. The number and the nature of the arguments are also modified by the construction.

Following the continuum between form and meaning, the description model of the CxG includes both semantic (agent, patient, location) and syntactic elements (subject, verb, object, oblique argument), as represented above in (8).

Weg‑constructions investigated here are to be understood as transitive constructions, i.e., CMC or RES construction, in which the object represents the figure of motion (see Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez & Agustìn Llach 2016):

The caused‑motion construction (She pushed me into the kitchen) and the resultative construction (The child licked the bowl clean), […], are built on the basis of transitive patterns (She pushed me; The child licked the bowl) denoting what we can call effectual actions, i.e., actions whose impact on an object results in a change of location or a change of state. (Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez & Agustìn Llach, 2016, p. 161)

In Sections 2.1 and 2.2, the CMC and the RES construction are analysed in more detail.

2.1. Caused‑motion construction

At the syntactic level, Goldberg (1995, p. 152) defines the CMC “(in active form10) structurally as follows (where V is a non‑stative verb and OBL is a directional phrase): [SUBJ [V OBJ OBL]].” According to the definition of constructions as form‑meaning pairs, she proposes the following central meaning for the CMC: “[T]he causer argument directly causes the theme argument to move along a path designated by the directional phrase; that is, ‘X CAUSES Y TO MOVE Z’” (Goldberg, 1995, p. 152). Goldberg provides the following schematic formalisation of the argument structure of the CMC:

Figure 1. The caused‑motion construction (Goldberg, 1995, p. 160).

Figure 1. The caused‑motion construction (Goldberg, 1995, p. 160).

In the CMC, the subject refers to the causer of the expressed motion while the causal action is expressed by the verb. The motion is not caused by the subject but by the action denoted by the verb: CAUSE‑MOVE. However, not all the verbs occurring in the CMC denote a cause or a motion. In examples (2) and (8) above, the verbs are neither causative nor manner‑of‑motion verbs, but they acquire this meaning through mapping with the meaning of the CMC (coercion).

The object of the construction designates the moving entity. If the object is the direct object of an embedded transitive verb, it is called selected object (see for example Goldberg & Jackendoff, 2004); if the object results from the extended argument structure of the construction, it is called unselected object, e.g., the foam of the cappuccino in (8). This issue is further discussed for the weg‑construction in Section 3.3.

The oblique argument denotes the goal of the motion. According to Goldberg, the oblique argument is a prepositional phrase (PP). In the present study, the particle weg‑ is treated as an argument of the construction because in instantiations without a PP the oblique argument slot is occupied by the separable verbal particle, which is the only element that permits the interpretation of the construction as CMC, as in (9).

(9)

AfD: Parteigründer Lucke

wurde

weggebuht. (GP)

AfD: [Party founder_Lucke.NOM

was

WEG‑boo.PTCP]

‘AfD: Party founder Lucke was booed off/away.’

Goldberg’s definition of the CMC implies real motion. She considers the RES construction as a metaphorical extension of the CMC in which the result is seen as a metaphorical goal (Goldberg, 1995, p. 81). Since metaphorical motion is also considered in the present study, the argument structure of the RES construction is described in more detail in Section 2.2.

2.2. Resultative construction

At the syntactic level, the argument structure of the RES construction is similar to that of the CMC. Goldberg (1995, p. 189) represents the RES construction as follows:

Figure 2. The transitive resultative construction (Goldberg 1995, p. 189).

Figure 2. The transitive resultative construction (Goldberg 1995, p. 189).

It consists of a subject, an object and an oblique argument in the form of an adjectival phrase (AP) or a prepositional phrase (PP). The oblique argument expresses a result that can be seen as a metaphorical goal. In the constructions under scrutiny, the oblique argument is instantiated by the particle weg‑.

Goldberg (1995, p. 188) cites the following semantic condition for the emergence of this construction: “Resultatives can only be applied to arguments which potentially undergo a change of state as a result of the action denoted by the verb”.

Like the CMC, the RES construction is not only compatible with verbs whose lexical meaning coincides with the meaning of the construction. Verbs that do not denote a result or a change of state also occur in the RES construction, as in (10) and (11) with the particle weg‑ :

(10)

Die Methode,

eine Tätowierung

durch

die Behandlung

mit

dem Laserstrahl

wegzubrennen […] (U05)

The method

[DET_tattoo.ACC

through

the treatment

with

the laser‑beam

WEG‑ZU‑burn.INF]

‘The method of burning away a tattoo by treating it with a laser bem […]’

(11)

Sie

urlaubt

den

Spott

einfach

weg(GP)

She

[holidays

DET_mockery.ACC

simply

WEG]

‘She simply holidays the mockery away.’

In this paper, I claim that the weg‑construction is located at the interface between the CMC and the RES construction since it instantiates either a motion (“X causes Y to move Z”, Goldberg, 1995) or a change of state, i.e., a disappearance (“X causes Y to become Z”, Goldberg, 1995).

Section 3 describes the arguments of the German weg‑construction in more detail.

3. Argument structure of the weg‑construction

This section discusses the characteristics of the weg‑construction. The focus here is on the specific elements of this construction, namely the particle weg‑ as oblique argument, the object and the role of the verb in the construction, as well as the interactions between these elements. First, the particle weg‑ is defined, then the role of the verb and the object in the construction are discussed and explained with examples from the corpora.

3.1. The oblique argument

The particle weg‑ contributes as an oblique argument to the expression of the motion or change of state in the construction. According to the Duden (2015) and DWDS11 dictionaries, the adverb weg, which also occurs as a verbal particle, denotes either (i) the process of motion or (ii) its result. In the weg‑construction there is always a resultative dimension, but the result is either the endpoint of a motion or a change of state of the object, i.e., the latter disappears or is destroyed. In the second definition (ii), the result is emphasised: as a consequence of the action denoted by the verb, something is removed, eliminated, no longer present. These two meanings of weg‑ can be found in the constructions under scrutiny and this suggests that the specific position of the weg‑construction is at the interface between the CMC and the RES construction.

In weg‑constructions, the goal or the result is generally not further specified. However, the particle weg‑ can be combined with a second oblique argument that denotes the source or the goal of the motion, as in (12) and (13), respectively.

(12)

[…] die Sehnsucht,

sich

aus

dem Alltag

wegzuzaubern(U13)

[…] the longing

[oneself.ACC

out of

the everyday‑life

WEG‑ZU‑conjure.INF]

‘[…] the longing to conjure oneself away from everyday life […].’

(13)

Er

wurde

mit Obamas Zustimmung

auf

einen

gut

gepolsterten

Nato‑Posten

wegkomplimentiert. (T10)

[He.NOM

was

with Obama's approval

to

a

well

padded

NATO post

WEG‑compliment.PTPC]

‘He was complimented away to a wel padded NATO post with Obama's approval.’

3.2. The verb

As mentioned above, in CxG, the construction has its own meaning, which is inherited by the verb used in this construction. A variety of verbs can be used in the weg‑construction, e.g., verbs that are classified in lexical approaches as causative manner‑of‑motion verbs or denote a change of state (affected object), but also verbs that do not belong to these semantic categories. The verb keeps its lexical meaning, for example the verb lachen ‘to laugh’ in (14) and (15) and the verb schwitzen ‘to sweat’ in (16), but it also inherits the meaning of the construction (Goldberg, 1995) as it fuses with the argument structure of the construction (Felfe, 2018, p. 297), e.g., the CMC in (14) and the RES construction in (15) and (16).

(14)

Hillary Clinton

lacht

sie

alle

weg (GP)

Hillary Clinton

[laughs

them_all.ACC

WEG]

‘Hillary Clinton laughs them all away.’

(15)

Ukraine: Er

lacht

Krise,

Krieg

und

Korruption

weg (GP)

Ukraine: He

[laughs

crisis_war_and_corruption.ACC

WEG]

‘Ukraine: He laughs away crisis, war and corruption.’

(16)

Schwitz

die Pfunde

weg (GP)

[Sweat.IMP

DET_pounds.ACC

WEG]

‘Sweat away the pounds.’

The weg‑construction can instantiate verbs for which there is a lexicalised weg‑variant, as well as verbs that are not lexicalised but whose occurrence is attested in instantiations of the weg‑construction in the corpora.

It is interesting to note that verbs whose meaning does not imply concrete motion contribute to the expression of actual motion in the CMC, such as buhen ‘to boo’ in (9) above, in which real motion is expressed. Conversely, verbs that denote concrete motion can occur in constructions with a metaphorical meaning. As we will see, this is due to the interaction between the verb and the arguments of the construction.

Intransitive manner‑of‑motion verbs (such as springen ‘to jump’, schwimmen ‘to swim’, etc.) – see Levin (1993) – also occur in the transitive weg‑construction, as in (17) and (18). Their argument structure is extended by the construction.

(17)

Lieber

Sorgen

wegschwimmen

als

wegschwemmen! (GP)

Rather

[worries.ACC

WEG‑swim.INF

than

WEG‑wash.INF]

‘Rather swim away worries than wash them away!’

(18)

Pfunde

wegspringen (M00)

[Pounds.ACC

WEG‑jump.INF]

‘Jumping away pounds.’

In this construction, however, other activity verbs are also attested, which do not express either a motion or a change of state, such as streiken ‘to strike’, i.e., ‘to go on strike’ in (19). In this instantiation the meaning of to strike maps with the meaning of the construction (CAUSE‑MOVE).

(19)

Wie

Schüler

ihren Direktor

wegstreikten. (GP)

How

pupils

[their_director.ACC

WEG‑strike.PRET]

‘How pupils struck their principal away.’

Contrary to Goldberg's assertion that no stative verbs occur in CMCs and RES constructions (see also Levin, 1993, p. 100‑101), there are verbs that denote a state and/or a process in the German weg‑construction, such as strahlen ‘to beam’ or schlafen ‘to sleep’ in (20) and (21). In (20), the verb strahlen maps with the meaning of the RES construction and expresses the cause of the disappearance of the rumours.

(20)

Jenny Elvers

strahlt

die Magersucht‑Gerüchte

weg(GP)

Jenny Elvers

[beams

DET_anorexia‑rumours.ACC

WEG]

‘Jenny Elvers beams the anorexia rumours away.’

(21)

Ich

dachte

ich

könnte

es

einfach

wegschlafen (GP)

I

thought

I

[could

it.ACC

just

WEG‑sleep.INF]

‘I thought I could just sleep it away.’

Quirk et al. (1997, p. 178) define such verbs as verbs with stative meanings rather than stative verbs because they can be used to express a dynamic meaning. This is the case when the meaning of these verbs merges with the dynamic meaning of a given construction. In addition, Richter and Van Hout (2010), in their study of German resultative constructions, also claim that verbs that have properties of both stative verbs and process verbs, such as sitzen ‘to sit’ or schlafen ‘to sleep’, are compatible with the RES construction. They call these verbs state + process verbs (Richter & Van Hout, 2010, p. 2013).

In the weg‑construction, even verbs whose meaning seems to contradict the constructional meaning occur, e.g., loben ‘to praise’ in (22).

(22)

Lobt

der

Papst

seinen

treusten Diener

weg? (GP)

Praise

the

Pope

[DET_most_faithful_servant.ACC

WEG]

‘Does the Pope praise away his most faithful servant?’

The examples above show that the semantics of the verb interacts with the meaning of the construction. Accordingly, the verb semantics is particularly relevant for distinguishing between different instantiations of the respective constructions and for determining whether or not a verb can occur in a given construction. This issue is addressed in section 4 for the transitive and reflexive weg‑constructions.

The verbs in the construction also narrowly correlate with the object. For this reason, I will now examine the specific characteristics of the object in the weg‑construction.

3.3. The object

In the weg‑construction, the object occurs either as a nominal phrase (NP) required by the verb or by the construction, or as a reflexive pronoun in the accusative case. In this context, Goldberg and Jackendoff (2004, p. 536) distinguish between selected and unselected objects, as mentioned in Section 2.1. Selected objects are required by the verb independently of the construction as in (23), whereas unselected objects are required by the construction, as in (24) and (25).

(23)

Dafür

wird

an vielen Orten

der Schnee

per Hand

weggeschaufelt. (GP)

To that end

[is

in many places

DET_the snow.NOM

by hand

WEG‑shovel.PTCP]

‘To that end, the snow is shovelled away by hand in many places.’

(24)

So schön

lacht

Sylvie van der Vaart

den Krebs

weg (GP)

So beautifully

[laughs

Sylvie van der Vaart

DET_cancer.ACC

WEG]

‘Sylvie van der Vaart laughs away cancer so beautifully.’

(25)

[…] ein Punchingball,

um Aggressionen

wegzuboxen (M14)

[…] a punching ball,

[to aggressions.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑box.INF]

‘[…] a punching ball to box away aggression.’

According to Goldberg (1995) and Goldberg and Jackendoff (2004), there are two kinds of unselected objects:

  1. The unselected object is an NP, such as den Krebs ‘cancer’ in (24) and Aggressionen ‘aggressions’ in (25).

  2. The unselected object is a reflexive pronoun, as in (26). Goldberg (1995), Goldberg and Jackendoff (2004), Dewell (2011) and Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez and Agustìn Llach (2016), for example, call such instantiations of the construction fake reflexives.

(26)

Die Abenteuer aus 

1001 Nacht

helfen

ihm,

sich

wegzuträumen

The adventures from

1001 Nights

help

him

[himself.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑dream.INF]

in

eine andere

Welt. (RHZ11)

into

another

world

‘The adventures from 1001 Nights help him to dream himself away into another world.’

The nature of the object plays a major role in the classification of the weg‑construction as either CMC or RES construction. The object NP can denote a concrete object, a living being or an abstract concept. If the object is concrete and is not affected by the action but only “relocated”, the weg‑construction can be classified as CMC. If the object is affected by the action denoted by the verb, the weg‑construction is a RES construction. If the object denotes an abstract concept, such as Stress ‘stress’ or Sorgen ‘worries’ in (27) and (28), then the construction expresses a metaphorical motion or a disappearance. Constructions with such objects are very productive and occur with many different verbs. They can be classified as phraseme constructions (Dobrovol’skij, 2011) with two fixed slots: the object and the oblique argument weg‑.

(27)

Wir

kochen

den Stress

weg! (GP)

We

[cook

DET_stress.ACC

WEG]

‘We cook the stress away!’

(28)

Sorgen

einfach

wegschwimmen (GP)

[Worries.ACC

simply

WEG‑swim.INF]

‘Simply swim worries away.’

Since there are differences in the argument structure and instantiations within the family of weg‑constructions, I now turn to the description of this family of constructions, specifically to the transitive and reflexive weg‑constructions.

4. The family of weg‑constructions

The abstract weg‑construction can be classified into two categories at a lower level, namely transitive and reflexive weg‑constructions. These two constructions share the same argument structure at an abstract level, but they show differences in the selection of embedded verbs and in the extension of the argument structure at a lower level. In this section, I examine the similarities and differences between these two constructions and show how they are linked in a family of weg‑constructions. The transitive construction is described first, then the reflexive construction. Finally, I summarise the differences and similarities between the two.

As mentioned above, the focus here is on the compatibility of the construction(s) with verbs whose meaning does not coincide with the meaning of the construction. For this reason, we will switch from motion and change‑of‑state verbs to other categories of verbs, including state + process verbs.

The verb classes below are taken from Levin (1993) and from the description of communication verbs at the IDS Mannheim.12 I also refer to the frameworks of Olofsson (2014) and Richter and Van Hout (2010). Following Levin (1993, p. 15), Goldberg (1995), and Goldberg and Jackendoff (2004), it is assumed that the semantic properties of verbs (verb classes) are closely related to their syntactic behaviour. I argue that semantic properties of the verb and the verb interaction with the arguments of the construction determine whether or not it can be embedded in a given instantiation of the weg‑construction and whether this construction is to be classified as either a CMC or a RES construction.

4.1. Transitive weg‑construction

This section describes the specific characteristics of the transitive weg‑construction using examples from the corpora. First, I address the direct object, then I describe the dative object that can appear as an additional argument of some weg‑constructions, and, finally, I provide some examples of the verbs that are common in this construction and briefly discuss the phraseme constructions.

4.1.1. The direct object

As mentioned above, the transitive weg‑construction can occur with selected and unselected objects, as in (29) and (30), respectively.

(29)

Sie

sind

ungemein

schnell

‑ im

Bier

wegtrinken(NUZ06)

They

are

incredibly

fast

in

[beer.ACC

WEG‑drink.INF]

‘They are incredibly fast ‑ in drinking beer away.’

(30)

Manuela Wilkens

hat versucht,

die Angst

wegzutrinken. (T12)

Manuela Wilkens

has tried

[DET_fear.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑drink.INF]

‘Manuela Wilkens has tried to drink away the fear.’

Moreover, the affectedness of the object also plays a role in the classification of the transitive weg‑construction as a CMC or a RES construction. The transitive weg‑construction can be classified as CMC when the object is concrete, unaffected and “relocated”, as in (31) with streiken ‘to strike’, i.e.‘to go on strike’. In (32), the object is neither concrete nor “relocated” but disappears; it is therefore a RES construction.

(31)

Wie

Schüler

ihren Direktor

wegstreikten(GP)

How

pupils

[DET_principal.ACC

WEG‑strike.PRET]

‘How pupils struck their principal away.’

(32)

Die Probleme

einer

ganzen

Branche

lassen

sich

nicht

wegstreiken. (T05)

The problems

of_an

entire

industry

[let

themselves.ACC

NEG

WEG‑strike.INF].

‘The problems of an entire industry cannot be struck away.’

4.1.2. The dative object

One peculiarity of the transitive weg‑construction is that a dative object is used in some instantiations. This dative object occurs as NP, as personal pronoun or as reflexive pronoun in the dative case; see (33), (34) and (35)‑(36), respectively.13

(33)

Passiert

es

auch

mal,

dass

jemand

dem anderen

etwas

wegisst? (U03)

Happen

it

also

sometimes

that

someone

[DET_other.DAT

something.ACC

WEG‑eat.PRES]?

‘Does it also happen that someone eats something away from the other person?’

(34)

Jetzt

hat

der Kerl

mir

das ganze Eis

weggegessen (BRZ07)

Now

has

the guy

[me.DAT

DET_whole_ice‑cream.ACC

WEG‑eat.PTCP]

‘Now the guy has eaten away all my ice cream.’

(35)

Er

trinkt

sich

die Probleme

weg. (NUN07)

He

drinks

[himself.DAT

DET_problems.ACC

WEG]

‘He drinks his problems away.’

(36)

Kohlschreiber

kündigte

immerhin

selbstbewusst

an,

sich

nun

in Madrid

„den Frust

wegzuspielen“. (U15)

Kohlschreiber

announced

at least

confidently

[himself.DAT

now

in Madrid

DET_frustration.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑play.INF]

‘Kohlschreiber at least announced confidently that he would now “play away his frustration” in Madrid.’

According to De Knop and Mollica (2017) and Welke (2011), such objects are free datives. Among the various categories of the free dative as defined by Welke (2011), there are mainly two variants in the constructions under scrutiny: the dativus commodi (beneficient) or incommodi (maleficient). Free datives mainly occur in constructions or instantiations of constructions that mean ‘to take something away from sb.’ or ‘to free oneself from something’, as in (35) and (36).

The free dative is optional in some constructions, but other instantiations of the construction are not possible without a dative object; see (37) with reiẞen ‘to tear’. Instantiations of the weg‑construction with the verbs essen ‘to eat’ or trinken ‘to drink’, for instance, occur with and without a dative; see (34) and (35) above.

(37)

Zwischen

die

Wagen

war

ein

Schlauch

gespannt […]

der

ihm

Between

the

wagons

was

a

hose

stretched

which

[him.DAT

von

hinten

die Beine

wegriss. (BRZ07)

from

behind

DET_legs.ACC

WEG‑tear.PRET]

‘A hose was stretched between the wagons […], which tore off his legs from behind.’

There are also weg‑constructions that do not allow a dative object, such as (38) with the verb strahlen ‘to beam’, because in this instantiation there is no reference person from whom one “takes” the rumours away.

(38)

Das

Paar

strahlte

die bösen Trennungsgerüchte

weg. (GP)

The

couple

[beamed

DET_nasty_break‑up‑rumours.ACC

WEG]

‘The couple beamed the nasty break‑up rumours away.’

The question of whether or not a dative object is possible in a given construction is not clear‑cut and merits further study. Moreover, a more fined‑grained analysis of the reflexive pronoun in the dative case as the source of the denoted motion could possibly contribute to a better understanding of the distribution of the weg‑construction on a continuum between the CMC and the RES construction.14

The next section will focus on the specific characteristics of the verbs that occur in the transitive weg‑construction.

4.1.3. Embedded verbs

The transitive weg‑construction instantiates numerous different verbs. Table 115 offers an overview of verb classes that are common in this construction (for a more fine‑grained description of the verbs, see Gallez, 2020). This selection is based on the occurrences found in the data.

Table 1. Verb classes in the transitive weg‑construction.

Table 1. Verb classes in the transitive weg‑construction.

I will now briefly elaborate on some of the verb classes listed in Table 1, more specifically the ones whose meaning does not coincide with the meaning of the construction, i.e., verbs that do not denote motion, manner of motion or change of state.

Verbs of contact by impact such as combat verbs occur in numerous instantiations of the construction with selected and unselected objects. They occur in CMCs when the object is caused to move by the action denoted by the verb. In other cases, constructions with such verbs are RES constructions.

According to the data, many instantiations of the weg‑construction feature verbs of cleaning, which is not surprising since cleaning often involves a result or the removal of dust, etc. Such verbs are also used with unselected objects, as in (39).

(39)

Welche

Relevanz

und

Legitimität

hat

ein solches Ergebnis?

What

relevance

and

legitimacy

has

a such result?

Kann

man

es

einfach

so

weg‑wischen? (T14)

[Can

one

it.ACC

simply

WEG‑wipe.INF]?

‘What relevance and legitimacy does such a result have? Can it simply be wiped away?’

The verbs essen ‘to eat’ and trinken ‘to drink’ and synonyms or semantically related verbs, possibly in another language register, such as saufen ‘to booze’, occur with selected and unselected objects in the transitive weg‑construction. With selected objects, the object is ingested. Unselected objects mainly denote a psychological burden. In such cases, the object of the verb is implicit, e.g., alcohol in (40).

(40)

Manuela Wilkens

hat versucht,

die Angst

wegzutrinken. (T12)

Manuela Wilkens

has tried

[DET_fear.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑drink.INF]

‘Manuela Wilkens has tried to drink away the fear.’

Some instantiations of the transitive weg‑construction with verbs of ingestion include a dative object, as in (41) and (42), and mean ‘to take sth. (away/off) from someone’.

(41)

Passiert

es auch

mal,

dass

jemand

dem anderen16

etwas

wegisst? (U03)

Happens

it also

sometimes

that

someone

[DET_another.DAT

something.ACC

WEG‑eat.PRS]?

Does it ever happen that someone eats something from another person?’

This dative object also occurs as a reflexive pronoun:

(42)

Dann

ein Single,

der

sich17

Kummer und Einsamkeit

wegzutrinken

versucht. (BRZ07)

Then

a single

who

[oneself.DAT

sorrow_and_loneliness.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑drink.INF

tries]

‘Then a single person trying to drink away his sorrow and loneliness.’

In instantiations of the weg‑construction with verbs of cheating, the object does not move, nor is it removed, but is only hidden, as with the verbs mogeln and schummeln, which both mean ‘to cheat’.

The transitive weg‑construction also instantiates numerous communication verbs that can be classified into the following categories from the IDS dictionary of communication verbs:18 modal and medial verbs, as well as verbs that refer to the sequence of speech or to the nature of the information conveyed. These instantiations occur with selected and unselected (concrete and abstract) objects. There is also evidence for expressive verbs with a positive meaning, such as jubeln ‘to cheer’ in (43).

(43)

Das Volk

jubelt

Rousseff

weg (GP)

The people

[cheer

Rousseff.ACC

WEG]

‘The people cheer Rousseff away.’

Verbs of sound emission also occur in the transitive weg‑construction. Levin (1993), Engelberg (2009) and Goschler (2011) have already pointed out that such verbs can occur in motion constructions.

Verbs of giving and taking can be used in the weg‑construction. Constructions with take‑verbs are attested with and without dative object. If they occur with a dative object, there is a deictic aspect towards the agent.

As mentioned above, verbs that do not denote any action or activity can also occur in the weg‑construction. In the transitive instances under scrutiny, there are no stative verbs, but instead, there are state + process verbs, e.g., schlafen ‘to sleep’, hungern ‘to starve’ or strahlen ‘to beam’. Such instantiations occur with unselected objects and feature RES constructions. Verbs that denote a process of thinking can also be embedded in the weg‑construction. Many instantiations with the verb denken ‘to think’ contain the adverb kaum (hardly) or a negation, as in (44).

(44)

Sie

sind

bei

uns

ein

Grundnahrungsmittel

und

nicht

mehr

They

are

at

us

a

staple‑food

and

[NEG

longer

von

den

Tellern

wegzudenken […]. (BRZ05)

from

the

plates

WEG‑ZU‑think.INF]

‘They are a staple food for us and we can no longer imagine our plates without them […].’

Verbs that denote a non‑verbal expression of feelings, such as lachen ‘to laugh’, lächeln ‘to smile’, etc., are also compatible with the transitive weg‑construction. Within the weg‑construction, they contribute to the expression of a CMC when the object stands for a living being (+animate), as in (45), and a RES construction in other cases, e.g., (46).

(45)

Hillary Clinton

lacht

sie alle

weg. (GP)

Hillary Clinton

[laughs

them_all.ACC

WEG]

‘Hillary Clinton laughs them all away.’

(46)

Kann

man

die Krise

wegtanzen?

Oder

sogar

einfach

weglächeln? (RHZ09)

[Can

one

DET_crisis.ACC

WEG‑dance.INF

Or

even

just

WEG‑smile.INF]

‘Can you dance the crisis away? Or even just smile it away?’

The verb zaubern ‘to conjure’ occurs in numerous instantiations of the weg‑construction. These instantiations express a concrete or metaphorical motion or a disappearance. They contain concrete and abstract objects, as in (47) and (48), respectively.

(47)

Der Vogel,

den

man

wegzaubern

möchte(Z06)

The bird

[that.ACC

one

WEG‑conjure.INF

wants]

‘The bird that you want to conjure away.’

(48)

Er

hat

unsere

Überstunden

durch

einen

fiesen Trick

weggezaubert(HMP14)

He

has

[DET_overtime.ACC

through

a

nasty trick

WEG‑conjure.PTCP]

‘He used a nasty trick to conjure our overtime away.’

4.1.4. Phraseme constructions

Some instantiations of the weg‑construction are partially fixed. Engelberg, König, Proost and Winkler (2011, p. 101‑102) claim, following Engelberg (2009), that there are privileged associations between verbs and specific argument structure constructions, and between the arguments within a given construction. This is, for example, the case for constructions with the objects Stress ‘stress’, Krise ‘crisis’ or Sorgen ‘worries’, in which numerous different verbs occur. These verbs denote various activities or processes that contribute to stress reduction and/or can be considered a leisure activity, as in (49) and (50).

(49)

Ja,

die

Krise

ist

da,

aber

VW

will

sie

wegfeiern(GP)

Yes

the

crisis

is

here

but

VW

[wants

it.ACC

WEG‑ celebrate.INF]

‘Yes, the crisis is here, but VW wants to celebrate it away.’

(50)

Wir

kochen

den Stress

weg! (GP)

We

[cook

DET_stress.ACC

WEG]!

‘We cook the stress away!’

This is also the case for constructions with Hirn ‘brain’, which occur with a great variety of verbs and convey the meaning ‘to get high from the action denoted by the verb’, as in (51) and (52).

(51)

Umgangssprachlich

heißt

es,

dass

man

sich

sein Hirn

"wegsaufen"

kann. (GP)

Colloquially

says

it

that

one

[himself.DAT

DET_brain.ACC

WEG‑booze.INF

can]

‘Colloquially, it is said that you can “booze your brains away”.’

(52)

Die

können

ruhig

zuhören,

statt

sich

das Hirn

mit

ihrer Musik

wegzupusten. (T07)

They

can

really

listen

instead

[themselves.DAT

DET_brain.ACC

with

their music

WEG‑ZU‑blow.INF]

‘They can go ahead and listen instead of blowing their brains away with their music.’

Such constructions can be classified as phraseme constructions (Dobrovol’skij, 2011) with at least two fixed slots: the oblique argument weg‑ and the object.

4.2. Reflexive weg‑construction

Goldberg and Jackendoff (2004) consider the fake reflexive construction to be a subcategory of the transitive construction with unselected objects. This construction is described here at the same level as the transitive construction because it shows specific characteristics that are not shared with the transitive construction. The reflexive construction partly features the same verbs as the transitive construction, including state + process verbs, but there are subtle differences between the instantiations of the constructions, e.g., in reflexive constructions featuring the verb lachen ‘to laugh’ where the construction does not have the same meaning as the transitive construction with this verb. Moreover, in reflexive constructions there is less variety in the embedded verbs and some instantiations only occur with one single verb in our data. In addition, there are verbs that have a very specific meaning in the reflexive weg‑construction, such as schießen ‘to shoot’ in the context of drug use or alcohol consumption.

Reflexive constructions occur with selected and unselected reflexive pronouns, but in the present study, I will focus on the unselected reflexives because they contribute to extending the use of the embedded verbs, e.g., in (53) with the verb träumen ‘to dream’.

(53)

Und

man

darf

sich

wegträumen

gern

nach

Brazil. (RHZ13)

And

one

[can

oneself.ACC

WEG‑dream.INF]

willingly

to

Brasilien.

‘And one can dream oneself away willingly to Brazil.’

Table 2 lists the verbs that are common in the reflexive weg‑construction. They are illustrated with corpus examples (see Gallez (2020) for more details).

Table 2. Verb classes in the reflexive weg‑construction.

Table 2. Verb classes in the reflexive weg‑construction.

Table 2 shows that the reflexive construction only partly instantiates the same verbs as the transitive construction. In the same way as in the transitive construction, motion verbs occur in the reflexive weg‑construction, but since the reflexive pronoun is selected by the verb in these instantiations, they are not discussed further here. It is interesting to note that, according to the data, no change‑of‑state verbs are attested in the reflexive construction with a reflexive pronoun in the accusative case, although such verbs convey the same meaning as the RES construction, which can be realised by weg‑constructions. Movement verbs (e.g., tanzen ‘to dance’) were not found in the reflexive weg‑constructions either, although they are compatible with the CMC and the RES construction. Reflexive weg‑constructions do not instantiate verbs of ingestion such as essen ‘to eat’ or trinken ‘to drink’, but, as we will see, other verbs are used in constructions that occur in the context of alcohol consumption.

The reflexive and transitive constructions with the same verb do not always convey the same meaning, see e.g., the constructions with lachen ‘to laugh’ discussed below.

I will now briefly discuss some of the verbs whose meaning does not coincide with the constructional meaning, focusing on verbs with a specific use in the reflexive construction.

Contact‑by‑impact verbs such as schießen ‘to shoot’ are attested in the reflexive weg‑construction. Like other instantiations with hängen ‘to hang’, etc., the construction is a RES construction that means ‘killing oneself’. Verbs of sound emission such as knallen ‘to bang’ are also used in the reflexive weg‑construction. However, they are to be understood metonymically: the bang stands for the shot from a firearm. The meaning of these instantiations is the same as in the example with schießen ‘to shoot’ in Table 2.

The reflexive weg‑construction also instantiates communication verbs, e.g., argumentieren ‘to argue’ or loben ‘to praise’. However, there are fewer subcategories than in the transitive construction.

In the same way as in the transitive construction, there are verbs that do not denote an action or an activity but a process or a state and a process, for example träumen ‘to dream’ in (53) above or denken ‘to think’ in (54). These instantiations denote a metaphorical motion.

(54)

Aus

der

alltäglichen

Bedrohung

hilft

eigentlich

nur

eines:

sich

Out‑of

the

everyday

threat

helps

actually

only

one‑thing:

[oneself.ACC

wegzudenken

in

eine

gewaltfreie

und dadurch

schönere

Welt. (NUZ03)

WEG‑ZU‑think.INF]

into

a

non‑violent

and thus

more‑beautiful

world

‘There is actually only one thing that helps to get away from the everyday threat: to think oneself away into a non‑violent and thus more beautiful world.’

In the reflexive construction, contrary to many instantiations of the transitive construction, instantiations with the verb denken ‘to think’ do not include a negation or the adverb kaum ‘hardly’.

The verb zaubern ‘to conjure’ also occurs in several instantiations of the reflexive weg‑construction that express a metaphorical motion.

As mentioned above, some instantiations of the reflexive construction occur with only one, or very few, verbs from a verb class. This is the case, for example, in instantiations with the verb lachen ‘to laugh’ – as in (55) – that are not possible with other verbs from the same verb class, e.g., lächeln ‘to smile’. Instantiations with the verb lachen denote a change of state but, although the object is affected, the meaning conveyed by the construction is not a disappearance but a ‘loss of control’.

(55)

Mein

Freund

hat

sich

weg‑gelacht. (T05)

My

friend

has

[himself.ACC

WEG‑laugh.PTCP]

‘My friend laughed his head off.’

Constructions with the same meaning occur with the verb schmeißen (lit. ‘to throw’ together with the PP vor Lachen ‘laughing’/’with laughter’, as in (56).

(56)

Da

hat

sich

Opi Paul

vor Lachen

fast

weggeschmissen(U08)

Then

[has

himself.ACC

Grandpa Paul

with laughter

almost

WEG‑throw.PTCP]

’Then Grandpa Paul laughed so hard, he almost lost it.’

It is interesting to note that the verb schmeißen does not occur with its lexical meaning, i.e., ‘to throw’, in the reflexive weg‑construction.

In this construction, several verbs occur with specific contextual meanings. This is the case, for example, in instantiations of the reflexive weg‑construction in the context of drug use or alcohol consumption, where the verb acquires the meaning ‘to lose control’, e.g., in (57) with the verb schießen ‘to shoot’.

(57)

Er

sei

kein

Komasäufer,

weil

er sich

nie

vornehme,

„sich

wegzuschießen“. (NUN07)

He

is

DET.NEG

binge‑drinker

because

he himself

never

plans

[himself.ACC

WEG‑ZU‑shoot.INF]

‘He is not a binge‑drinker because he never plans to “shoot up”.’

In this context, the verb schießen does not mean ‘to shoot with a firearm’, as in the example for the verb class contact‑by‑impact verbs in Table 2, but ‘to fix/to shoot’. Its meaning is extended to alcohol consumption in (57). Such uses of verbs in the weg‑construction are frequent in spoken language.

The reflexive construction and the transitive construction described in the previous sections are linked in a family of constructions that is addressed in Section 4.3.

4.3. Characteristics of the family of weg‑constructions

Like authors such as Goldberg (1995) and Felfe (2018, p. 311), I claim that constructions are linked to each other in a family of constructions. I refer to the concept of family in Wittgenstein's sense, as described in Proost and Winkler (2015), according to which a family consists of several members that share similarities with other members of the same family, but not necessarily with all of them.

Transitive and reflexive weg‑constructions share the same argument structure at an abstract level. They share the same oblique argument, i.e., the particle weg‑, and both constructions instantiate CMCs and RES constructions, depending on the nature and interaction of the arguments in the construction. Both constructions are productive and do not only occur with verbs that convey the same meaning as the construction, i.e., motion verbs or change‑of‑state verbs. Transitive and reflexive weg‑constructions also instantiate communication verbs, contact‑by‑impact verbs, etc. (see Tables 1 and 2) with selected or unselected objects. One specific characteristic of all weg‑constructions is the embedding of state +process verbs and other verbs that seem to be incompatible with the meaning of the construction. However, there are differences in the distribution of the verbs occurring in the transitive and the reflexive construction. According to our data, the reflexive construction occurs with fewer verbs than the transitive construction. This could be due to the fact that in reflexive constructions, the subject and the object denote the same entity. Moreover, some verbs are exclusively used in either the transitive or the reflexive construction, and verbs that occur in both constructions do not always undergo a similar extension of their use and meaning; see the transitive and reflexive constructions with the verb lachen ‘to laugh’ discussed in Sections 4.1 and 4.2. The occurrence of selected and unselected objects as NP or reflexive pronoun shows the great variety of extended uses of the verbs through the embedding in the weg‑construction. The interaction of the objects with the verbs also contributes to determining whether a weg‑construction is to be understood as a CMC or a RES construction.

In the transitive construction, there seem to be relatively fixed combinations with objects that occur in numerous instantiations, e.g., Sorgen ‘worries’, Stress ‘stress’, etc., which denote a negative concept that has to be eliminated. Such constructions can be classified as phraseme constructions and occur with many different verbs. This observation also shows that CxG is a relevant framework to unveil transparent and phraseological units. In the reflexive construction, there are also very specific use extensions of particular verbs in particular contexts, e.g., drug use and alcohol consumption. In such instantiations, the meaning of the verbs often “fades away” and the meaning of the construction comes to the fore.

Figure 3 gives an overview of the family of weg‑constructions discussed in this section.

Figure 3. The family of weg‑constructions.

Figure 3. The family of weg‑constructions.

5. Concluding remarks

The analysis of weg‑constructions within the framework of Construction Grammar has unveiled the similarities and differences between transitive and reflexive constructions, as well as the great variety of instantiations within the family of weg‑constructions. By distinguishing between selected and unselected objects (Goldberg & Jackendoff, 2004), Construction Grammar provides a descriptive framework for conventionalised and non‑conventionalised instantiations of constructions, as well as for transparent and partly fixed constructions. The present study has also shown that numerous verb classes are compatible with the weg‑construction. However, the analysis of the semantic verb classes could possibly be supplemented with a description of the semantic frames involved (see, amongst others, Ziem, 2014; Dalmas & Gautier, 2018), e.g., for partly fixed transitive constructions with the objects Stress ‘stress’, Sorgen ‘worries’, Hirn ‘brain’ or other instantiations that are constrained to a given context, such as sporting activities for transitive weg‑constructions with the object Pfunde ‘pounds’, as in (16) and (18) above.

It can also be concluded from our study that, in addition to the idiosyncratic features of the interactions within the constructions, the context and the cotext should also be taken into account to describe the constructions. This raises the question as to what extent some constructions are preferentially used in specific text genres (see, for example, Engelberg, Koplenig, Proost & Winkler, 2012). A genre‑ and register‑specific description of the constructions analysed in this paper would shed light not only on the interactions within the constructions, but also on their usage. It would also account for the specific use of verbs in a given text, as in (58) and (59).

(58)

Wenn es ein Motiv gibt, das Bob Dylan vom Anfang seiner Karriere bis heute begleitet, dann ist es der Versuch, sich singend wegzusingen […] (U11)

‘If there is one motif that has accompanied Bob Dylan from the beginning of his career to the present day, it is the attempt to sing himself away [...].’

(59)

Dort ist Basteln Planetensport und bisweilen so verwegen, dass Krims Kramuris Lieblingscousin Krempel sich aus Versehen mit einem Überschallpapierflugobjekt selbst weggebastelt hat. (U06)

‘There, doing handicrafts is a planetary sport and sometimes so daring that Krims Kramuri's favourite cousin Krempel accidentally “crafted” himself away with a supersonic paper flying object.’

Since constructions are language‑specific (see, amongst others, Goldberg, 1995; Ziem & Boas, 2017), a contrastive analysis of the family of weg‑constructions would shed light on their equivalents in other languages.

Both a genre‑ and a contrastive analysis would be relevant for foreign language teaching and learning as well as for translation studies.

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Appendix

1. Data: User‑defined corpus from the IDS Mannheim

Image 100002000000031000000222C69B873BFE0CC92C.png

2. Abbreviations used in the IDS corpora

brz

Braunschweiger Zeitung

foc

FOCUS

hmp

Hamburger Morgenpost

haz

Hannoversche Allgemeine

m

Mannheimer Morgen

nku

Nordkurier

nun

Nürnberger Nachrichten

nuz

Nürnberger Zeitung

rhz

Rhein‑Zeitung

u

Süddeutsche Zeitung

spk

spektrumdirekt

t

die tageszeitung

vdi

VDI Nachrichten

z

Die Zeit

zca

Zeit Campus

zge

Zeit Geschichte

zwi

Zeit Wissen

 

 

Notes

1 I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments on this paper and their suggestions for further research; any errors that remain are my own. Return to text

2 For illustration, where possible, the verb phrase (VP) is glossed in the examples. Return to text

3 By “non‑lexicalised verbs” I mean verbs that are not listed in dictionaries. The meaning of these verbs is often non‑compositional. Return to text

4 According to Knobloch (2009, p. 547‑548), passe‑partout verbs are verbs such as machen ‘to make’, bringen ‘to bring’ that can be used as generic verbs and are nearly function verbs. They are compatible with various constructional environments and are polysemous in their particle‑verb combinations. Return to text

5 http://www1.ids‑mannheim.de/kl/projekte/korpora/. The data covers German press corpora from the IDS from 2000 to 2015. Return to text

6 http://news.google.de Return to text

7 See appendix. Return to text

8 Olofsson (2014) uses the term function and claims that the verb acquires a new function in the construction, for example an incremental function, or it expresses the cause, the manner, the means or the result. Return to text

9 In such examples zu is a formal marker for VPs in the infinitive in German. In this paper it is glossed as ZU. Return to text

10 Here the passive form and its substitutes are also considered, where the patient of the action denoted by the verb occurs in the nominative case. Return to text

11 Digitales Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache (www.dwds.de). Return to text

12 See https://www.owid.de/docs/komvb/start.jsp Return to text

13 My emphasis. Return to text

14 I am grateful to one of my reviewers for this suggestion. Return to text

15 For the sake of readability, the examples in the tables are not glossed. Return to text

16 My emphasis Return to text

17 My emphasis Return to text

18 See https://www.owid.de/docs/komvb/start.jsp Return to text

Illustrations

References

Bibliographical reference

Françoise Gallez, « Particle verbs with weg‑ in German: a constructional analysis », Lexique, 28 | -1, 35‑62.

Electronic reference

Françoise Gallez, « Particle verbs with weg‑ in German: a constructional analysis », Lexique [Online], 28 | 2021, Online since 01 juillet 2021, connection on 19 avril 2024. URL : http://www.peren-revues.fr/lexique/786

Author

Françoise Gallez

Université catholique de Louvain & Université Saint‑Louis de Bruxelles
francoise.gallez@uclouvain.be

Copyright

CC BY