Variability in journalistic discourse in the German language

MGIMO University
Issue 51

This work is devoted to the problem of syntactic organization of nominal groups with the first component, denoting the names of groups of animals, namely Rudel (flock), Schwarm (swarm), Herde (herd). Interest in phrases of this type is due to the increased frequency of use in journalism in Germany, as well as the peculiarities of syntactic construction.  The corpus of journalistic texts made it possible to see the quantitative distribution of models with the help of which phrases such as ein Rudel Wölfe (pack of wolves) were formed, and also demonstrated a partial discrepancy between the use and regulatory requirements.

Substantive groups with an uncommon second component were designed according to the models: eine Herde + Subst. Singular (Plural) (eine Herde Schafe, Vieh); eine Herde + Subst. Attr.  Genitiv (einem Rudel Gleichgesinnter); eine Herde + von+ Subst. Attr.  Dativ (einer kleinen Herde von Gläubigen); einer Herde (Dativ)+Subst. Plural (Dativ) (einem Rudel Hunden).

Substantive groups in which there is an adjective or participle before the second component were constructed according to the models: eine Herde + Attr. + Subst. Genitiv (ein Rudel friesischer Hunde); eine Herde + von (mit, an, aus) + (Numeralien)+ Attr.+ Subst. Plural (Dativ) (Herden von kamelartigen Alpakas); eine Herde+Attr.stark+Subst.=Herde (ein Rudel braune Krankenschwestern). Corpus data showed that a significant proportion of phrases do not have case marking, that is, the case of the second component is not determined, just as the type of syntactic connection is not determined. The proportion of ambivalent forms was 18% for groups with Herde, 28% for combinations with the first component Schwarm, and 41% for groups with Rudel. In contexts with case marking, models with genital control and prepositional control compete. It turned out that models with the coordination of eine Herde + Attr.stark + Subst.=Herde and einer Herde (Dativ) + Subst. Plural (Dativ) are represented by single examples, although authoritative normative grammarians consider these models to be valid for organizing these noun groups. Another important difference from the recommendations of authoritative grammars is that prepositional control is represented by a more diverse list of prepositions (von, mit, an, aus). It can be assumed that prepositions help a native speaker to overcome uncertainty in the choice of case, since the realized use of a preposition imposes strict restrictions on the case of a noun.

For citation

Shubina E. L. (2023). Variability in journalistic discourse in the German language. Issues of Applied Linguistics, 51, 60-87.

This artiсle is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.