LEXIKALISCHER WANDEL AM BEISPIEL DES VERBS <em>STILLEN</em>

  • Christina Janz Tehnical University of Dresden
Keywords: stillen, language change, internet forum, meaning change, transitivity

Abstract

Language change in grammar is relatively slow. In most cases, grammatical change is associated with changes in lexical semantics. Both types of change can be interrelated. For example, a change in verb meaning can cause valence changes which can influence the number and semantics of the complements in the sentence. Part of this process are also changes concerning transitivity and intransitivity of individual verbs.
The article briefly describes only one example of lexical change without presenting a valid empirical study at this point. Possible dialectal variants in the use of the verb are not considered.
The previously transitive German verb stillen (Engl. ‘breastfeed’) is used increasingly intransitively in certain media, such as internet forums. This instance of language change is related to the changed view of the physical and psychological abilities of infants, to whom a more active role in breastfeeding is attributed. According to initial considerations by psychologists, role changes go hand in hand with changes in the way the human being is perceived in social and cultural terms. Examples from an internet forum show an increasing intransitive use of the verb stillen as an innovation in the lexicon of contemporary German.

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Published
2019-10-16
How to Cite
Janz, C. (2019). LEXIKALISCHER WANDEL AM BEISPIEL DES VERBS <em>STILLEN</em&gt;. Linguistica, 59(1), 117-125. https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.59.1.117-125