Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16

Task sheet – Writing a Disposition

Examine the three dispositions below in terms of their structure and content.

Disposition A: pages 1-7


Disposition B: pages 8-11
Disposition C: pages 12-16

Disposition A

Software Terminology and Its Localization into Slovene

Problem and Objectives, Research Question

The thesis will deal with software terminology in English and Slovene. In this field, the
two languages occupy two highly different positions. English is clearly the dominant
language, in which most of the developments take place and in which new concepts usually
first get their designations. Slovene is the receiving language; concepts are practically
always introduced via English and terms have to be translated.

The dissemination of specialized terminologies is generally controlled by subject field


experts and terminologists. With software terminology, however, the situation is somewhat
different. The public rarely comes into contact with these terms in texts in the traditional
sense, but rather in software products themselves, where the terms used are usually not
subject to any officially imposed standards. Regarding localization, the publisher controls
what languages the product will be localized into and how exactly this process of localization
takes place.

This thesis will examine the localization of widely-used software into Slovene. It will
focus on the different approaches of forming terms in Slovene. These are: borrowing from a
foreign language (with a varying degree of assimilation into Slovene), calquing (literal
translation from a foreign language), and forming new terms within Slovene (employing
several word-formation techniques). The aim of the dissertation is to determine whether any
of these approaches is particularly prominent within the field of software.

Another characteristic of software terminology is that, unlike most specialized


terminologies, it reaches a very large number of people. With so many people using
computers on a regular basis, terms in software have to be as user-friendly as possible if the
products are to be successful. The second aim of this thesis is to compare the English and
Slovene terms from this point of view by examining their form. The user-friendliness of the
Slovene terms will also be assessed by means of a survey conducted among speakers of
Slovene. An additional purpose of the survey is to determine whether there is any correlation
between the methods of forming new Slovene terms described above and their user-
friendliness.

To sum up, this thesis deals with two basic research questions:

1. What approaches are used in software localization into Slovene to form new
terms and which are more prominent?
2. Are the Slovene terms user-friendly enough, especially in comparison with
their English equivalents?

Delimitation

The terms to be analysed will be taken directly from some commonly used computer
programs – that is, their English and Slovene versions. The plan is to use the word processor
Microsoft Word, the internet browser Mozilla Firefox, and the social networking service
Facebook (while the last is technically a website rather than a program, it does have a
terminology of its own that can compare with that of a computer program).

These three products have been chosen because of their large pool of users and
because of their different approaches to localization. Microsoft employs dedicated teams of
professionals to localize their products. Mozilla relies on volunteers, but the work is still at
least semi-professional. Facebook, on the other hand, puts the localization process into the
hands of its users by providing a translation app, which can be used by virtually anyone. The
quality of the translations of terms therefore varies. (Note that while I may point out some
mistakes or dubious choices of terms, this is not the aim of the thesis.) Another reason to
base the research on several programs and not just on one is to provide a broader and more
representative view of the topic.

Terms

The following is an explanation of some key terms that are likely to be used
throughout the thesis.

Terminology has three related but distinct meanings. The term can refer to the
discipline dealing with specialized terms, the practice of compiling these terms (into
glossaries, dictionaries, databases; this is usually called terminography), or the set of terms
used in a particular specialized subject field (Cabré 1996, 16). In this thesis, the term will
mostly be used in the third meaning, referring to the collection of terms found in software.

Terms are words (or word combinations) “used to designate concepts pertaining to
special disciplines and activities” (Cabré 1999, 81). According to the traditional view, terms
would only be used by experts in clearly established subject fields, such as medicine or law.
According to the broader view generally accepted today, however, any specialized field or
activity can have its own terminology and it need not be used by experts only – software is a
good example of a field where terms are used by a wide range of people. A consequence of
this is that the line distinguishing terms from general lexemes is not very clear (see Cabré
1999, 114).

“Localization involves taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally


appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold.”
This is the official definition of localization by the now closed Localisation Industry Standards
Association, as quoted in Esselink (2000, 3). While localization involves more than mere
translation, this thesis will focus on the translation of terms.

Frame of Reference

For the theoretical background on terminology, the main source used will probably be
Cabré (1999, also 1996), though I may also consider the theory of socioterminology. For
information on the practice of localization, the main source will probably be Esselink (2000).

Regarding term formation in Slovene, the categories are (for now) based on Vintar
(2008, 51–55), but some more detailed literature will probably be required. The three basic
categories are borrowing, calquing and forming new terms within Slovene. What follows is a
brief description of these categories.

Borrowings can be further subdivided according to their level of assimilation to


Slovene; for example, the form of Enter (the name of the key) has been left intact when
borrowed into Slovene, while processor has been orthographically and phonetically modified
to procesor, which can also take a Slovene suffix to form the adjective procesorski.

Calques (also called loan translations) are cases of literal translation of terms from
one language to another. They can be translated word for word (e.g. ubežni znak for Escape
character) or morpheme for morpheme (e.g. medmrežje for internet). Calques are often
frowned upon and speakers are reluctant to use them, as with the examples above, but
some are accepted.
There are three basic ways to form new terms within Slovene itself. The first is
derivation, e.g. iskalnik (search engine) is derived from the verb iskati. The second is
assigning a new meaning to an existing word, e.g. mreža as the term for a network of
computers as opposed to its meaning as a general lexeme (‘net’). The third option is to form
phrasal terms from existing words, e.g. varnostna kopija for backup (copy).

Structure

Apart from the introduction and other necessary sections, the thesis will start with a
theoretical background section. The first part will discuss terminology and terms in general.
Special attention will be given to the problem of distinguishing terms from general lexemes,
and to the principles terms must follow if they are to be user-friendly. The next part will deal
with term formation, especially in Slovene, explaining in detail the three approaches
(borrowing, calquing, forming new terms within Slovene). There will also be a more specific
part on software terminology and localization, pointing out their special characteristics
(mostly stemming from the fact that the terms have a very large pool of users). This will
include a brief description of the three analysed programs (Microsoft Word, Mozilla Firefox
and Facebook) and their approaches to localization.

Then the empirical part will follow. First, the methodology will be explained (see next
section for more information on the planned research methods). It is important that the
criteria for distinguishing terms from non-terms and the criteria for categorizing terms
according to their form are clearly stated, as the boundaries can be blurred. After the
methodology is sufficiently explained, the results will be presented, first in general form, e.g.
the percentages of the three different categories. This will be followed by an in-depth
discussion on groups of analysed terms and individual terms. The exact structure of this
section will depend on the results. The most significant findings will be stressed in the
conclusion.

After the conclusion, there will be an appendix in the form of a glossary containing the
analysed terms. This will include at least the English terms and their Slovene equivalents,
their source (what program they were taken from), probably their categorization (how the
Slovene term was formed), and possibly other information considered relevant. Another
appendix will include the survey on the usage of terms as seen by the participants, and
possibly also its results in full.
Procedure, Methodology and Research Design

As already stated, the terms to be analysed will be taken directly from Microsoft
Word, Mozilla Firefox and Facebook in English and in Slovene. Care will be taken that the
same version of each program is used – this is not problematic with Word and Firefox, where
the version number is easily consulted, but it might be a problem in the case of Facebook,
which is updated often and without notice. The extraction of terms from there will therefore
have to be done over a short period of time. Facebook’s community-based localization
approach can pose a few other problems: the translation of terms can change and is often
inconsistent, and some terms can be (at least temporarily) untranslated. In such cases, I will
only consider the state at the time of extraction and eliminate untranslated terms from the
analysis, and in cases of inconsistencies, select the translation of the term which has the
highest frequency (this can be checked quite easily in the translation app).

Difficulties are also expected in deciding whether individual cases are terms or not.
This will be especially problematic with word combinations, where the line between multi-
word terms and mere collocations is blurred. To minimize the number of such dilemmas,
clear objective criteria for distinguishing terms from non-terms will have to be established
before the actual extraction. Even so, I expect quite a few borderline cases where the
decision will have to be subjective to some extent. Some secondary sources, such as the
Islovar dictionary of information science (available at islovar.org) may be consulted for help.

The procedure for the selection of terms to be analysed is not yet determined. The
simplest solution would be to extract and analyse all the terms from each program, but that
would probably prove too much to handle. Instead, a selection will be made to include
approximately the same number (perhaps approximately 50) of examples from each of the
three programs. The selected terms should be representative. So far, I have not come up
with a good objective way to achieve this. The best option would probably be to build a
corpus out of the entire text of each program and extract the terms from there, and then
make either a random selection or a selection on the basis of frequency. However, this would
probably entail a lot of work for little effect, if it is at all technically possible. Some other, more
feasible options are to only include terms from specific parts (e.g. menus, toolbars) of the
program, to include every nth term, or to include the terms featured in functions that are used
most frequently (such a selection would be quite subjective, though).

Once a list of English terms and their Slovene equivalents is compiled, the analysis
can start. The first step will be to categorize the Slovene terms according to whether they are
the result of borrowing, calquing, or term formation within Slovene. The distinction between
calques and native formations might be problematic in some cases, especially with single-
word terms (e.g. piškotek – is it to be considered a calque formed on the basis of cookie or a
native term formed by assigning a new meaning to the existing word for the type of food?).
Again, clear criteria have to be established beforehand, but the final decisions will probably
be somewhat subjective. Once finished, this basic categorization will provide an insight into
the distribution of the three approaches in term formation regarding software terminology. I
expect the number of calques, which are generally uncommon, to be relatively high in this
field.

The analysis will not stop there. The terms will be analysed further to provide a basis
for a more detailed discussion. This will include, for example, the level of assimilation to
Slovene for borrowings, or an examination of prefixes and suffixes in terms formed by means
of derivation. The Slovene terms will also be compared to their English counterparts from the
point of view of user-friendliness, and this will be linked with the results of the survey.

The survey’s aim is to gauge the actual usage of Slovene software terms. It will be
based on the terms from the previously compiled list which have several possible variants in
Slovene. This includes variation within the programs themselves and elsewhere, including
colloquial and jargon variants, which are usually borrowings (e.g. lajkati, a borrowing of the
verb like used on Facebook). Term by term, the participants will select the variant(s) they use
themselves in any context – when writing a formal text, sending an e-mail to an
acquaintance, speaking to a friend etc. The number of terms included in the survey depends
on the number of terms with several possible variants in the analysed list, though it should
not exceed 30 or so, or the participants might feel discouraged to finish the survey.

The survey will probably start with some questions on the background of the
participant. What exactly will be included in this section is yet to be determined. Approximate
age and level of education might be relevant to the results. As the survey will be posted on
the internet, there is no need to explicitly limit the participants to people who are users of
software, as those who are not are unlikely to access it in the first place. A question on the
level of familiarity with software or the specific analysed products may be included, though.

The main part of the survey will consist of questions on the usage of terms. On each
page, the participants will be provided with an English term and possibly a definition in
Slovene, and they will be asked to select one or several terms from a list of possible Slovene
equivalents. The instructions will clearly state that they are not required to select the
standardized term, but rather the term(s) they actually use. Each page will also provide an
optional field for possible comments of the participant. This may include anything they
consider relevant, e.g. a variant not listed above, the reason why they choose one variant
over another, the respective contexts in which they use the variants they have selected.
The results of the survey will be used to evaluate the user-friendliness of software
terminology in Slovene. I expect to find that a high percentage of people prefer to use a
colloquial borrowed term based on English over the standard Slovene term in many cases.
This would suggest that the English terminology is much more user-friendly than its Slovene
counterpart.

Bibliography

These are some basic works that have proved useful so far and are likely to be
consulted when writing the thesis:

Bergenholtz, Henning, and Sven Tarp, eds. 1995. Manual of Specialised


Lexicography: The preparation of specialised dictionaries. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Cabré, M. Teresa. 1996. “Terminology today”. In Terminology, LSP and Translation: Studies
in language engineering in honour of Juan C. Sager, edited by Harold Somers, 15–
33. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Cabré, M. Teresa. 1999. Terminology: Theory, methods and applications. Amsterdam: John
Benjamins.

Esselink, Bert. 2000. A Practical Guide to Localization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Vintar, Špela. 2008. Terminologija: Terminološka veda in računalniško podprta


terminografija. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete.
Disposition B

KURT VONNEGUT’S LITERARY UNIVERSE:

THE WORLD OF KURT VONNEGUT’S CHARACTERS

1. Problems and objectives


Kurt Vonnegut is an American writer, belonging to the literary current of Postmodernism. His massive
opus consists of 14 novels, 123 short stories, and a great number of articles, ranging from
pedagogical texts on writing to highly critical views on the state of the American society. He is
celebrated as one of the greatest American authors and is seen almost as an icon, so his work has
already been subject to a number of theoretical discussions.

In the past, literary critics have mostly focused on the way Vonnegut’s work displays the
characteristics of literary Postmodernism. His use of black humour and satire have been subject to
many a discussion. A lot of works have also been written on the abundance of humanistic ideas
presented in his work and his praise of altruistic beliefs (Todd F. Davis a.o.). Focus has also been put
on his criticism of the American society and his critique of egalitarianism. A lot of critics (Robert T.
Tally, Jr. a.o.) focused on the prominent themes and motifs that kept reappearing in his opus – war
(most eminently, the bombing of Dresden), religion, apocalypse, elements of science fiction. No one,
however, has theoretically tackled the constant repetition of certain characters throughout
Vonnegut’s opus.

In my master’s thesis I’m going to focus on exactly those characters that keep reappearing, providing
a unified image of “the Vonnegut Universe”, connecting the character’s stories to create a sense of
development and connectedness. I intend to focus on the characters of Billy Pilgrim, Kilgore Trout,
Tralfamadorians, Howard W. Campbell, and their history. My goal is to provide an overview of their
development and the reasoning that lies behind the image of an organized and unified literary world.

I intend to tackle the interconnectedness of Kurt Vonnegut’s opus and demonstrate that connections
that are made are not a matter of coincidence, but rather stem from the author’s own humanistic
ideas and altruistic beliefs. His work is littered with his personal views on society and his opinions of
the world. Vonnegut strives to provide solutions to the problems of our society and puts forward the
idea that most of the issues that we’re facing can be dealt with through dealing with literature
(through reading and writing literary works).

That altruistic desire to “fix the broken world” displays in his works. He tries to put forward the
message that no one is alone in this world:

“Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think
much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although
most people do not care about them. You are not alone.” (Timequake,
1998:1993)

Vonnegut uses his writing to turn our lonesome world a little bit more familial. He provides us with a
family of literary characters to almost act as our family. He uses his work to provide some sort of
stability and connections to his readers. The characters that are given to us almost acts as anchors,
on which our shattered world can be finally fixed.

Myths and epics have always revolved around the notion of cyclicity, providing some sort of stability
to their “readers1”. This was kept alive in the oral tradition. In my master’s thesis I intend to
demonstrate that Kurt Vonnegut uses the notion of repetition in his opus to put forward the idea of
cyclical time, providing us with some reassurance, comfort and stability. Even though his works dive
in the postmodern tradition with their modern-day topics, they originate in the oral tradition of
myths.

That is why I am going to focus on tackling the characteristics of oral literature, which will later be
applied to Kurt Vonnegut’s work. Focus will be put on theories, which deal with modern-day
“orature” as well as on texts that focus on the notion of cyclicity in epic heroic poetry. I intend to
provide a correlation between those principles and the features of Vonnegut’s work, by focusing on
an article, written by Philip M. Rubens, titled “Nothing’s Ever Final: Vonnegut’s Concept of Time”.

Further on, I am going to take advantage of postmodern literary theory to put Kurt Vonnegut’s opus
in the right context. The elements of oral literature that Kurt Vonnegut uses are not used in the
traditional sense. His opus cannot be placed in field of traditional oral literature. His literary work is
clearly the consequence of a reality, which came crashing down, and a reality, where nothing is true
anymore.

2. Delimitation and Terms


For the purpose of this research, I intend to read the entirety of Vonnegut’s literary work, in order to
provide a thorough background understanding of his opus. I will, however, limit my discussion only to
the novels and short stories suitable for my research, namely the works that feature the reappearing
characters. I do not intend to differentiate between the works in which those characters are seen as
having the main role, and the works in which they just make a minor appearance. That is necessary
because a notion of character development can then be properly presented.

Following is a list of works that are definitely going to be dealt with: Mother Night, Slaughterhouse
Five, Timequake, The Sirens of Titan, Cat’s Cradle.

3. Frame of Reference
I will base my discussion in the field of postmodern literary theory, focusing on Tomislav Virk’s
collection of essays on Postmodernism, titled Strah pred naivnostjo (2000), Brian MacHale’s work
Constructing Postmodernism (1992), and Janko Kos’s views on Postmodernism as presented in Na
poti v postmoderno (1995). I intend to provide a brief overview of the postmodern era and how its
characteristics are displayed in postmodern literature.

Because one of the characteristic features of postmodern writing is also the reinvention of traditional
forms of writing and because I see Vonnegut’s work as a sort of reinterpretation of some patterns
belonging to the genre of oral literature, I will also include theoretical works dealing with the concept
of oral literature. I will mostly focus on its notion of cyclicity and repetition. The former as the cause
for Vonnegut’s reusing of several of his literary characters, and the latter as the mode of
familiarisation, a feeling that Vonnegut tries to put forward in his work. Because of Vonnegut’s

1
I use the term “readers” very loosely, seeing that we are mostly talking about play that were enacted for
audiences.
fondness of old traditional societies (mostly African) and because theoretical works on orature
mostly deal with African and Aboriginal literature, I will base my research on some of the works
dealing with those national literatures. Later on I intend to provide a connecting factor between
those modes of literary expression and Vonnegut’s style of writing.

4. Procedure and Methodology


As far as the methodology of my research work is concerned, I first intend to gather data on the
characters that keep reappearing, meaning that I have to read the entirety of Vonnegut’s opus, as I
already stated. Then I am going to provide a basic overview of each of the character’s development
and an overview of the role each character possesses in each individual piece of work. Lastly, I intend
to connect all of the listed characters and provide a unified view of “the Vonnegut Universe”.

The final part will be applying the theoretical views tackled in the first part of the master’s thesis to
the aforementioned picture of “the Vonnegut Universe” trying to make the connection more clear
and precise.

5. Structure
The first chapter of the master’s thesis will focus on postmodern literary theory, most particularly on
a special characteristic of postmodern writing – the reinventing of the modes of old traditional
writing.

The second chapter of the master’s thesis will deal with the concept of oral literature and some of its
features that ought to be familiar to the reader to provide sufficient background for the following
chapters. A connection between the notion of time that is used in oral tradition and Vonnegut’s
views on cyclicity will be made on the basis of Ruben’s article and some of the ideas I put forward in
my diploma thesis.

The third chapter intends to focus on Vonnegut’s humanistic ideas and his ways of providing comfort
and company to the lonesome reader by resorting to cyclicity, which is by far more “comforting” than
linear time.

With that I am going to conclude the theoretical part and start the practical one. In the first chapter
of the practical part, I am going to present a brief overview of the works that deal with the
reappearing characters and a basic overview of the characters’ development. I will provide a
connecting factor between them and put forward an image of a unified “Vonnegut Universe” and its
development.

6. Bibliography
During the writing of my master’s thesis, I intend to consult the following theoretical works:

Farrell, Susan. Critical Companion to Kurt Vonnegut. New York: Facts on File, 2008.

Kos, Janko. Na poti v postmoderno. Ljubljana: Literarno-umetniško Društvo Literatura, 1995. Print.

McHale, Brian. Constructing Postmodernism. London: Routledge, 1992. Print.

Rubens, Philip M. “»Nothing is Ever Final«: Vonnegut’s Concept of Time”. College Literature 6. (1979):
64–72. Print.
Tisk.

Virk, Tomo. Strah pred naivnostjo: poetika postmodernistične proze. Ljubljana: Literarno-umetniško
Društvo "Literatura", 2000. Print.

Some of the literary works that will be presented are listed below:

Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat's Cradle. New York, NY: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1998. Print.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Mother Night. New York: Delacorte, 1966. Print.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughter-house Five ; or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-dance with Death. N.p.: Dell
Pub., 1982. Print.

Vonnegut, Kurt. The Sirens of Titan. New York: Delacorte, 1959. Print.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Timequake. New York: G.P. Putnam's, 1997. Print.


Disposition C

IT’S GOT TO BE PERFECT(IVE): GRAMMATICALIZATION


OF LOCATIVE PARTICLES INTO ASPECTUAL PARTICLES
IN ENGLISH PHRASAL VERBS

1. Problem and Objectives

In phrasal verbs in the English language, the particle following the head verb
has roughly two possible functions. The first is to express location or direction of
the event denoted by the head verb, e.g. to sit down. The second function is to add
or emphasise the grammatical aspect of the head verb, e.g. open up, finish off, talk
away.2
It is likely that the aspectual function originates in the locative meaning (cf.
Brinton (1988), Machonis (2009), Thim (2012) etc.). The perception of an adverb
denoting location or movement has gradually changed and it can be now used to
denote perfectiveness or imperfectiveness of the verb it qualifies. The process where
a content word loses its literal meaning and becomes perceived as a function word
is called grammaticalization.

Grammaticalization is always gradual, involving several steps which are not


clearly set apart from one another. This can be observed also in phrasal verbs. For
example, in the phrase to turn down the volume, the meaning of the particle ‘down’
is not as literal as in to sit down. It nonetheless conveys a significant notion of
location and space. It may either reflect a concrete act of turning down a button (i.e.
in the opposite direction of turning it up), or the more abstract notion of the sound
going down rather than staying level or going up.

In the phrase to turn down an offer, the meaning of ‘down’ is not immediately
discernible. But if it is put in parallel with the phrase to let somebody down, there is
a sense of negativity observable in both. ‘Down’ is apparently used metaphorically
here to convey a notion of low space. In the phrase to shut down the system, the
meaning of ‘down’ is almost completely aspectual.

The verb shut has basically the same meaning as shut down, but the particle
‘down’ emphasises the end point of the event conveyed by the verb. At the same
time, it adds a degree of negativity, as in the case of to turn down.

It appears that grammaticalization of locative particles into aspectual


particles is not a completed process. There are several possible indicators of that.

Firstly, most of the time particles seem to add to the verb some notion of
their literal or metaphorical meaning, even if their aspectual function is prevalent.

2 There is a large portion of phrasal verbs where the particle does not function in either of
the defined ways. The meaning of those phrasal verbs is non-compositional and is thus not
deducible by looking at the constituents. Those phrasal verbs are not relevant for the thesis
and will not be dealt with.
As seen above, the particle ‘down’ can relate to a sense of negativity. Moreover, the
particle ‘away’, which can be used to add or stress the feature of imperfectiveness ‒
chatter away, eat away, fiddle away (time) ‒ is usually related to a sense of idleness
or futileness.

There are only restricted uses of certain particles where solely the aspectual
value is present. Such is the case with the particle ‘up’. In some instances, it seems
to have been fully grammaticalized into an aspectual particle, only emphasising the
feature of perfectiveness without adding any other meaning. For instance, if the
phrase to open the window is compared to the phrase to open up the window, it is
clear that their meanings are the same, but with the particle ‘up’, the perfectiveness
of the event is emphasised and brought into focus. There is no additional meaning
conveyed by ‘up’. That can be checked by comparing the phrase to open up with its
antonym to close up. Their meanings are completely opposite, although they are
both in combination with the particle ‘up’. Another example is with the phrase to
shut up, meaning ‘to stop talking’. If it is compared to the phrase to shut one’s
mouth, it is clear that the meaning is the same, but the phrase with the particle
emphasises the end point more. ‘Up’ can therefore act only as an aspectual particle.

However, it appears that combinations of a verb and a particle cannot be


formed at random. This is another indicator that grammaticalization is only partial.
Particles have not (yet) been grammaticalized into aspectual markers or intensifiers
to the extent where they could be assigned freely to any verb to change or
emphasise its aspectual value. There are a number of verbs which can take the
particle ‘up’ to stress the end point of the event, e.g. shrivel up, drink up, drag up
etc. But the following examples are unacceptable: *to cry up, *to diminish up, *to
penetrate up. They seem to be somehow restricted.

A possible reason for this could be the inherent aspect of these verbs.
To penetrate and to diminish can be seen as telic verbs. To cry, however, is not a
telic verbs, but it still cannot form an acceptable combination with ‘up’.
This is not a sufficient criterion.

Another possible explanation could lie in the origin of phrasal verbs. It


appears, namely, that a particle cannot form a combination with most verbs of
French origin (e.g. *reject up or *reject down, *propose up). Phrasal verbs are an old
language phenomenon, dating back to Old Germanic, if not Proto
Indo-European (cf. Thim (2012)). The phenomenon may have ceased to be
productive before the English language was influenced by non-Germanic languages
(i.e. before the Norman Conquest). The valid aspectual combinations would then
only be with those verbs that can form other types of phrasal verbs with different
particles. However, there is an important exception to this: the verb ‘to finish’,
which is of French origin, forms phrasal verbs (to finish off, to finish up). The exact
criteria for valid combinations are therefore yet to be determined.

The third possible indicator of the fact that the aspectual grammaticalization
is not completed might be the lack of any phonological or morphological changes in
the grammaticalized particles. For example, the phrase which denotes the act of
moving (e.g. I am going to the doctor’s), has been grammaticalized into a marker of
the future (e.g. I am going to go to the doctor’s). In the process, it has acquired a
phonologically different version
‘gonna’ which reflects morphological changes as well, requiring the bare infinitive
instead of the to-infinitive after it (e.g. I’m gonna go to the doctor’s tomorrow and not
*I’m gonna to go to the doctor’s). There are no such observable changes in phrasal
verbs. It is true, however, that morphological and phonological changes do not
occur as a rule. In the case of the aspectual particles in phrasal verbs, the change
occurs only in meaning and function of the particle. The morphological behaviour
and phonetic realisation, as yet so far, have remained intact.

The thesis will look at these notions, elaborate on them and draw some
conclusions regarding the productivity and the extent of the aspectual
grammaticalization of verbal particles.

2. Research Question

The main question of the thesis is to which extent the grammaticalization of


aspectual particles happened or is happening. In addition to this, the thesis will try
to provide a set of criteria as to why certain verbs may take an aspectual particle
whereas some cannot. Notions of the origin of verbs and the productivity of
grammaticalization will be important here.

3. Delimitation and Terms

The thesis will deal with grammaticalization as a micro-process in English


phrasal verbs with aspectual particles.

The particular focus of the thesis will be on the development and behaviour
of three particles: ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘away’, but other possible aspectual particles of
locative origin will also be considered. In addition to that, only those phrasal verbs
will be looked at whose meaning derives from the combination of the verb and the
particle. Non-compositional phrasal verbs
(to break up an audience - ‘to make an audience laugh’, to put up with your brother -
‘to tolerate your brother’, etc.) will not be taken into account, because with these
examples, this type of grammaticalization has not taken place.

4. Frame of Reference

Since the main focus of the thesis will be on grammatical aspect, phrasal
verbs, and grammaticalization, which are both synchronic and diachronic language
phenomena (cf. Lehmann (1985) for grammaticalization), the frame of reference for
this thesis will be a combination of the traditional historical linguistic theory and
descriptive linguistic theory.

5. Structure

The thesis will be of theoretical nature. It will thus be constructed following


the IBC (Introduction-Body-Conclusion) composition.
The structure of the thesis, outlined in the following paragraphs, is only
provisional. The exact outline will be made once the research is fully carried out.

In the first part of the body of the thesis, the main terms will be carefully
described. This part will explain what grammaticalization is in general, how it works
and why it can be assumed that grammaticalization plays an important role in the
making of phrasal verbs. Then, a distinction will be made between phrasal verbs
with locative particles and phrasal verbs with aspectual particles, taking into
consideration the blurry lines between different stages. Three particles will be
looked at in more detail: ‘down’,
‘away’, and most importantly ‘up’, which seems to be the most grammaticalized
aspectual particle.

The second part of the body will try to establish the possible criteria for
constructing grammatical and meaningful combinations of verbs and aspectual
particles. The history of phrasal verbs is important here and it will be outlined and
explained accordingly. Moreover, the semantic background of grammatical aspect
will be taken into consideration. The thesis will try to explain whether certain verbs
can take an aspectual particle because they lack definite telicity.

Possible table of contents:

1. Introduction
2. Let’s start at the very beginning
2.1 Grammaticalization - say what?
2.1.1 General overview of grammaticalization
2.1.2 Why grammaticalization could be vital in the creation of
aspectual particles
2.2. Phrasal verbs: from space to aspect
2.2.1 Locative adverbials vs. aspectual particles: a war of many
battles
2.2.2 Up, down and away we go: adding the feature of perfectiveness
and imperfectiveness in action
3. Searching the key to The Correct Combination
3.1 Digging deep: the history behind phrasal verbs
3.1.1 Phrasal verbs: Fossils of the long-gone Germanic age
3.1.2 Productivity of grammaticalization
3.2 Is there felicity in telicity?
3.2.1 Why the aspect inherent to the verb might not really matter
4. Conclusion
5. Basic bibliography

For information on phrasal verbs, the following sources will be used:

- Brinton, L. J. The development of English aspectual systems.


Aspectualizers and post-verbal particles. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. 1988,
- Machonis, P. A. Compositional phrasal verbs with up: Direction, aspect,
intensity. Lingvisticae Investigationes 32.2: 253-264. 2009.
- Machonis, P. A. Disambiguating phrasal verbs. Lingvisticae
Investigationes 31.2: 200-212. 2008.
- Rodríguez-Puente, P. The effects of lexicalization, grammaticalization and
idiomatization on phrasal verbs in English: some combinations with get as
a test case. New trends and methodologies in applied English language
research: diachronic, diatopic and contrastive studies, ed. by Carlos
Prado-Alonso. Linguistic Insights Series 103: 71-85. Bern: Peter Lang.
2009.
- Thim, S. Phrasal Verbs: The English Verb-Particle Construction and its
History. Topics in English Linguistics 78. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
2012

For grammaticalization:

- Hopper, P., Closs Traugott, E. Grammaticalization. Cambridge, UK:


Cambridge University Press. 2003.
- Knowles, M., Moon, R. Introducing metaphor. London: Routledge, 2006.
- Lehmann, C. Grammaticalization: Synchronic variation and diachronic
change. Linga e Stile. 1985.
- Lehmann, C. Thoughts on Grammaticalization. 2nd revised edition.
Arbeitspapiere des Seminars für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität
Erfurt. 2002.

For grammatical aspect:

- Smith, C. Parameters of Aspect, 2nd edition. Kluwer Academic Press.


1997.