English Correspondences to the German adverb "auch"


Essay, 2007

2 Pages, Grade: 1,5


Excerpt

English correspondences to the German adverb „auch“

In English the adverbs too, as well and also correspond to the German adverb auch. Whereas too and as well are always positioned at the end of a sentence (like in a, b), also either occurs before the main verb (like in c) or between the auxiliary and the main verb (like in d).

a) John goes to London as well/, too.

*John as well/, too goes to London.

b) John has gone to London as well/, too.

c) John also goes to London.

*John goes to London also.

d) John has also gone to London.

In English the adverbs stress that there is at least one other person which goes to London besides John. But the adverb introduces alternatives and thus the sentence is ambigous: Either there is an alternative to the person (like in e) or there is an alternative to the place of London (like in f).

e) John goes to London as well/, too. {that x goes to London as well/ too ‌ x ℮ D}

f) John goes to London as well/, too. {that John goes to x as well/, too ‌ x ℮ D}

Which of the two possibilities is expressed by the sentence depends on which word is focused. Focus disambiguates this sentence and therefore excludes one of the readings.

It is the same case with the adverb also:

g) John also goes to London. {that x also goes to London ‌ x ℮ D}

h) John also goes to London. {that John also goes to x ‌ x ℮ D}

In German the adverb auch has no specific place, but dependent on its position in the sentence, it has different semantic references. This is because of the phenomenon of scrambling.

In German sentences with the adverb auch are not ambigous because the position of auch is not fixed. Dependent on the intended meaning auch occurs in a specific position.

i) Auch John geht nach London.

j) John geht auch nach London.

The constituent after the adverb is always stressed and thus contains the most important piece of information in the sentence.[1] In i) it is the noun “John” which follows the adverb auch and therefore is stressed. This means that there is at least one other person, besides John, who also goes to London, whereas in j) the focus is on London because here, the noun “London” follows the adverb auch and thus is focused. According to these observations in German we do not have ambigous sentences with the adverb auch and thus we get only one reading for each sentence:

k) Auch John geht nach London. {auch x geht nach London ‌ x ℮ D}

l) John geht auch nach London. {John geht auch nach x ‌ x ℮ D}

As we have seen above, in German the position of the adverb auch is not as fixed as the position of its English correspondences. This is because of the phenomenon of scrambling, which allows us to change the word order in German sentences. Thus focus is more important in English because on which word the focus lies and which reading we get is decided about on the basis of the intonation of the sentence, whereas in German the position of auch decides about the piece of information which is focused. Thus we only get one reading for each sentence in German, but we do have ambiguities in these sentences in English.

[...]


[1] Pittner, K. & Berman, J. (2004). Deutsche Syntax. Ein Arbeitsbuch. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. 24-25.

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Details

Title
English Correspondences to the German adverb "auch"
College
University of Tubingen
Course
HS Structural Differences between English and German
Grade
1,5
Author
Year
2007
Pages
2
Catalog Number
V123423
ISBN (eBook)
9783640286355
File size
401 KB
Language
English
Tags
English, Correspondences, German, Structural, Differences
Quote paper
Katrin Schenk (Author), 2007, English Correspondences to the German adverb "auch", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/123423

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