Auxiliary selection in German

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The phenomenon of variance in auxiliary selection with haben and sein for perfect formation is very well known from a number of languages, and it is widely discussed. Recent models assume that sets of ranked criteria act as the semantic basis for auxiliary selection. Sorace’s hierarchical model (Sorace 2000), for example, is set to predict tendencies in auxiliary selection across languages. My approach will introduce three semantic criteria for perfect auxiliary selection in German. The criteria lead to a new version of Sorace’s model. It will be shown that findings concerning the diachronic development of haben and sein perfect support the general idea of gradience in the emergence of constructions. Keywords: German; auxiliary selection; auxiliary selection hierarchy; gradience; perfect; unaccusativity


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