The Syntax of Something: Evaluative Affordances of Noget in Danish Construction Grammar

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Abstract

This paper explores the evaluative noget construction in Danish. The construction is constituted by noget ‘something’ juxtaposed by a noun in an evaluative frame such as e.g. det er noget pjat, ‘it’s nonsense’ det er noget bras ‘it’s rubbish’, or det er noget svineri ‘it’s foul’. With a starting point in cross-linguistic studies on ‘something’ and its syntax, the paper moves on to explore core members of this evaluative class in Danish, providing a detailed semantic analysis of core configurations of the construction. The affordance of noget ‘something’ as ‘something bad’ is a key to understanding the construction, and from this general premise the class of evaluatives take off in multiple negative directions, providing a snapshot of the Danish linguaculture of evaluation. The paper argues for a Cultural Construction Grammar that can bring together the lexicogrammatical integrationism of Construction Grammar, and the linguacultural holism of the Ethnosyntax research paradigm. The goal is to provide high-definition analysis of complex, language-specific constructions in a simple, globally translatable metalanguage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Linguistics
ISSN0332-5865
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

Keywords

  • construction grammar
  • evaluation
  • Danish
  • semantics
  • ethnosyntax
  • cross-linguistic analysis

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