AbstractDrawing on a corpus study using German and Austrian parliamentary protocols, this paper shows that the originally temporal connector nachdem ‘after’ may carry causal meaning in southern German standard varieties. In these varieties, nachdem clauses may occur with individual level predicates, cases which, I will argue, provide unambiguously causal contexts since a temporal succession of events is excluded with individual level predicates. While nachdem displays polysemy comparable to English since in southern German standard varieties, it is a temporal marker in central and northern German varieties and a causal link may arise only due to a conversational implicature. The observed polysemy coincides with a higher token frequency of nachdem as well as a higher incidence of present tense use in the nachdem clause in the respective southern German varieties. Remarkably, causal nachdem clauses show a clear tendency to be fronted to the matrix clause despite the overall tendency of causal clauses to be post-posed, both cross-linguistically and in German, which may be explained in terms of information structure and discourse-organizing functions.
Folia Linguistica – de Gruyter
Published: Oct 25, 2018
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