Bare root infinitives in German: facets of meaning in poetry and non-literary discourse

  • The aim of this article is to show how linguistic and literary studies can benefit from the joint analysis of linguistic structures in poetry. Firstly, the analysis of poetry has an important impact on linguistic theory as it leads our attention to specific structures and meanings that so far have not been considered. Secondly, a close linguistic analysis can reveal hitherto overlooked facets of meaning which have a great significance for the overall interpretation of a poem. We focus on Bare Root Infinitives (BRIs) in German. As they lack the features for tense, mood, person and number, they are more flexible in meaning than finite forms. When looking at poetry, besides the well-known deontic and bouletic meanings (cf. Reis 1995, 2003; Gärtner 2014) a third meaning that we call reactive meaning stands out. Remarkably, this reactive meaning can also be found in everyday language. Its specific semantic properties show that a semantic analysis of BRIs in the style of Kaufmann (2012) is adequate: modality, but not non-referentiality, is a grammatically given semantic property of BRIs. The specific case study of the poem ‘muster fixieren’ (‘fixing patterns’) by Nico Bleutge reveals how the restricted context of the poem interacts with the different interpretations of BRIs, resulting in a complex interpretation of the text.

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Author:Irene RappGND, Susanne RieckerGND, Saskia BrockmannGND, Christian FortmannGND, Jonas BozenhardORCiD
Parent Title (English):International journal of literary linguistics : IJLL
Publisher:Johannes Gutenberg-Universität
Place of publication:Mainz
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/10/20
Date of first Publication:2021/10/20
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/06/16
Tag:pragmatic enrichment
Page Number:24
First Page:1
Last Page:24
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 40 Sprache / 400 Sprache
4 Sprache / 41 Linguistik / 410 Linguistik
8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
BDSL-Klassifikation:08.00.00 Hochmittelalter
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:International journal of literary linguistics
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0