The expressive 'en maar'-construction

Hans Broekhuis, Norbert Corver

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

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This article discusses constructions of the type 'En maar zeuren!' (You keep on nagging), which express a negative attitude of the speaker towards the proposition expressed by the construction. We will argue that 'en' (and) should be seen as a regular conjunction conjoining a phonetically empty clause with an overt infinitival clause: [[Ø] en [maar zeuren]]. The proposition expressed by the empty clause is determined by the common ground and contrasts with the propositional content of the second clause. This contrast is essential for obtaining the expressive meaning, but is potentially problematic in light of the regular interpretation of 'en'. We solve this by claiming that the contrastive reading is expressed by the conjunction in tandem with the discourse particle maar, which can also be used as a contrastive/oppositional conjunction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrossroads semantics
Subtitle of host publicationComputation, experiment and grammar
EditorsHilke Reckmann, Lisa L.S. Cheng, Maarten Hijzelendoorn, Rint Sybesma
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic) 9789027265999
ISBN (Print) 9789027212481
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • expressivity
  • discourse particle
  • root infinitive
  • conjunction


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