Clines of subordination – constructions with the German ‘complement-taking predicate’ <i>glauben</i>
The German “complement-taking predicate” (Thompson/Mulac 1984, 1991) <i>glauben</i> occurs in a number of different syntactic constructions. For example, it can be realized as part of a matrix clause followed by a subordinate clause with or without a complementizer. As the term “complement-taking predicate” suggests, these matrix constructions should be expected to be the standard ones with <i>glauben</i>. An empirical study of the uses of <i>glauben</i> in spoken German reveals, though, that the majority of all cases involving <i>glauben</i> are hybrid constructions resembling modal particles or adverbs. With those instances of <i>glauben</i>, a new “small construction” (Thompson 2002a) is about to be grammaticalized into a kind of epistemic qualifier. The process of this reanalysis is not yet finished, resulting in constructions that cannot be allocated to any conventional category such as <i>matrix clause</i> or <i>modal particle</i>.