Korpuslinguistische Perspektiven auf die sprachhistorische Entwicklung der nominalisierten Infinitive im Deutschen
Nominalized infinitives (NIs, such as (das) Lachen ‘(the) laughing’, (das) Um-die-Ecke-Wohnen lit. ʻ(the) around-the-corner-living’) are the morphologically most elaborated deverbal nominalization patterns without restrictions in present-day German. However, this was not the case in earlier stages of German. The article reconstructs the steps behind the increase in productivity of the NI since Old High German with the support of historical corpora from Old High, Middle High, Early New High, and present-day German. It will be shown that the increase in productivity is due to an interplay of morphology and syntax. Syntactically, NIs develop from the verbal infinitive together with a syncretism with the pre-Old High German nominal gerund. Morphologically, NIs replace -ung-derived nouns in order to form abstract nouns in Middle High German. In a further step, the morphological complexity of NIs increases, because syntagmata are nominalized, including the emergence of synthetic compounds. In a reverse development taking place from Middle High German onwards, nominalized infinitives can also get result-readings which coincides with pluralizability (such as das Schreiben ‘letter’ – die Schreiben ‘letters’).
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