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Wie viel Syntax steckt in der satzinternen Großschreibung?

Eine optimalitätstheoretische Analyse 

Hübl, Annika | Steinbach, Markus

Linguistische Berichte (LB), Bd. 2011 (2011), Iss. 227: S. 3–43

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Hübl, Annika

Steinbach, Markus


It has long been taken for granted that the use of sentence internal capitalization in German is bound to a certain part of speech: Nouns are graphematically marked with an initial capital letter. As opposed to this lexical approach, recent linguistic analyses of sentence internal capitalization argue for a syntactic approach: The main function of capitalization consists of marking a certain position in syntax, namely the head of the NP. In this paper we argue that a simple Optimality Theoretic implementation of the syntactic approach does not only cover the core cases of capitalization in German, but also more peripheral examples. We show that even for peripheral cases only modest modifications are necessary since the syntactic input provides all information relevant for sentence internal capitalization. In addition, we discuss (i) extensions of our theory to account for other cases of capitalization in German, (ii) the interfaces between our analysis and other modules of the graphematic system, (iii) the concept of graphematic grammaticalization, and (iv) a didactic implementation of our syntactic analysis.