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The Grammaticalization of the German adjectives <i>lauter</i> (and <i>eitel</i>)

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Abstract

After a corpus semantic analysis of the synchronic uses of the originally synonymous words <i>lauter</i> and <i>eitel</i>, this article traces the grammaticalization of German <i>lauter</i> (with reference to <i>eitel</i>) on the basis of three diachronic corpora. <i>Lauter</i> was originally a privative adjective meaning &#8216;pure, unmixed&#8217; and came to be used as negative intensifier in Early New High German; in Present Day German <i>lauter</i> is a determiner. It is argued that in the development of <i>lauter</i> a number of factors played a role, among them the ambiguity of privative adjectives in attributive position, discourse contexts that allowed a comparison interpretation, and the obligatorification of the adjectival inflection during Early New High German.

References

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