A Dynamic Syntax account of Dutch particle verbs
Joel Townsend
(Leiden University)
Friday (April 21st), 13:15-13:40
Lipsius 148

Dutch is a member of the West Germanic dialect continuum, sharing a number of properties with its closest siblings. Two properties are relevant to this presentation. Firstly, prepositions of motion and location may extend their semantic field to describe aktionsarten in adjunction to a verb. Secondly, certain preposition-verb combinations have become lexicalized, forming a class known as "particle verbs". The syntax of particle verb prepositions differs from aktionsarten prepositions, which means they are separate, though potentially related, phenomena. 

Dynamic Syntax is a linguistic theory developed by researchers at King's College London, SOAS and Oxford University. Its founding assumption is that utterances are built incrementally, not in the mind of the speaker. Its model of representation takes the point of view of the parser, i.e. the listener. The model uses binary typed lamba calculus trees. However, in a Dynamic Syntax analysis, the completed tree is merely a footnote - the interesting part for linguists is the process of the tree's construction, from the first word in the utterance to the final pause. 

This presentation consists of four parts. The first part is a brief description of particle verbs in Dutch. The second part is a brief introduction to the framework of Dynamic Syntax, which is not taught at many universities. The third part is an analysis of Dutch particle verbs in Dynamic Syntax, followed by a conclusion which suggests what original contributions Dynamic Syntax can make to the description of the Dutch language.