Chapter 2. The absent, the silent, and the audible

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This chapter pursues the issue of phonetically silent lexical items (cf. Van Riemsdijk 2002). Two more empirical domains are examined, and in both cases I tentatively conclude that a silent verb is involved. The first of these concerns the copula/auxiliary be when combined with a directional PP in Dutch and Swiss German. The second has to do with what I call silent particle verbs in Dutch. In a last section I discuss the more general issue of how widespread the phenomenon of silent lexical verbs is? And if the impression that this is a relatively rare phenomenon is correct, why do languages make such a limited use of what looks like a very economical device?


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