Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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The paper discusses how language contact and borrowing can be established as a critical factor of quantitative and/or qualitative changes of abstract grammatical patterns, in particular if languages are genetically and areally closely related and thus structurally similar. More specifically, it deals with the question of whether the word-formation pattern of proper name compounding in German and Dutch is an instance of grammatical borrowing from English, as is often claimed in the literature. To this end, we conduct a structural analysis of the pattern in the three languages based on original and translation corpus data. We show that the pattern which, at first glance, seems to be identical in all three languages has in fact different properties in each language. Although this does not necessarily preclude transfer from English, we conclude that there is no evidence in favour of such an influence.


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