Evie Coussé

My current research project The rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic is sponsored by the Swedish Research Council (2018-2021) The project also includes project members Gerlof Bouma (Sprĺkbanken, Gothenburg) and Nicoline van der Sijs (Dutch Language Institute, Leiden).

The project is situated in the field of historical linguistics. It addresses an understudied case of language change: the rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic. This development is present in all Germanic languages, yet the exact outcome of the change is different for each individual language, leading to cross-linguistic variation. The project aims to increase our factual knowledge of the rise of complex verb constructions in Germanic, with an empirical focus on English, Dutch, German and Swedish. It also aims to enhance our understanding of the process of ‘constructional complexification’ which is hypothesized to lie behind the rise of complex verb constructions. The project investigates both language internal and external motivations and mechanisms of complexification combining the frameworks of diachronic construction grammar and comparative linguists. Methodologically, it introduces the use of parallel corpora in historical linguistics, compiling a multilingual parallel corpus of historical Bible translations, which will be made available for other diachronic research after the completion of the project.