Ina Mangold to become third McIntosh-Patterson PhD Scholar

We are thrilled to announce that, staring in October 2021, Ina Mangold will be joining the AMC as the third beneficiary of the  McIntosh-Patterson Doctoral Studentship.

For the first time, the ‘Mac-Pat’ has been awarded – amid stiff competition – to a University of Edinburgh student. Ina is currently completing an MSc by research in Linguistics in our department, supervised by Graeme Trousdale and Bettelou Los. Her is thesis entitled A constructional account of the prenominal periphrastic possessive construction (PPPC) in Vorarlberg Alemannic.

Before coming to Edinburgh in 2019, Ina undertook an undergraduate degree in English and American studies at the University of Vienna. 

As a PhD candidate she will be developing a project that looks into the notion of ‘reinforcement’ and its relation to grammaticalisation, using historical data from Dutch and German dialects.

Welcome on board and congratulations, Ina!

Here is a bit more on Ina’s project, in her own words:

Reinforcement and its role in language change

The term “reinforcement” has been considered as part of the standard vocabulary in historical linguistics (Croft 2000, p. 70). It is usually understood as an addition of formal substance to an existing expression without changing the meaning of this expression (e.g. Croft 2000). While some conceive of reinforcement as  a strategy to recover or strengthen an existing meaning (e.g. Jespersen 1917; Lehmann 2015), others view it as an emphasis strategy (e.g. Detges & Waltereit 2002). In both views, reinforcement is intimately intertwined with grammaticalization, a process by which contentful (‘lexical’) linguistic expressions become more procedural (‘grammatical’) (Traugott & Trousdale 2013). The association of reinforcement with grammaticalization has become so strong that it has become increasingly hard to establish the boundaries between the two (e.g. Börjars & Vincent 2011; Hopper & Traugott 1993; Kiparsky & Condoravdi 2006). In order to characterise reinforcement more fully as a mechanism of language change, this delineation of the two concepts is of vital importance. Furthermore, by separating reinforcement and grammaticalization, it will become possible to explore the connections between reinforcement and other mechanisms involving addition of formal substance, most prominently reduplication.  

In order to explore the way in which reinforcement works, I propose a case study which investigates the emergence of the prenominal periphrastic possessive construction (PPPC) in Dutch and German. The PPPC can be found in most Germanic languages (e.g. Hendriks 2012 for Dutch; Weiß 2008 for German, Norde 2012 Norwegian, Allen 2008 for Early Modern English). It is used to express a possessive relationship between two noun phrases, which are connected via a linking element, which takes the form of a possessive pronoun, as in the Early Modern Dutch example in (1).

(1) Met dese const heb  ick Jamblichum  bedrogen,  den welcke            des
    With this  trick  have I   Jamblichum  deceived,  the  which-ACC.SG the-GEN.SG
      Keysers  Valentis zijnen         Toouenaer was.
     Emperor Valentis his-ACC.SG sorcerer      was.
“With this trick I have deceived Jamblichum, the one who was the Emperor Valentis’ sorcerer.” (Hendriks 2012, p. 44, from 1597)

It is proposed that this construction emerged by means of reinforcing a possessor noun phrase marked with genitive case (see example above) with an additional element to mark the possessive relation between the possessor and possessee. What is being reinforced here is therefore the central meaning of the genitive case, i.e. possession. The emergence of this phenomenon is embedded within a larger context of deflection in both Dutch and dialectal German.


Allen, C. (2008). Genitives in early English : Typology and evidence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Börjars, K. & Vincent, N. (2011). Grammaticalization and Directionality. In H. Narrog & B. Heine (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization. 163-176. Oxford: OUP.

Croft, W. (2000). Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Detges, U., & Waltereit, R. (2002). Grammaticalization vs. Reanalysis: a Semantic-Pragmatic Account of Functional Change in Grammar. Zeitschrift Für Sprachwissenschaft21(2), 151–195.

Hendriks, J. (2012). Re-examining the ‘origins’ of the prenominal periphrastic possessive construction Jan z’n boek in Dutch. Diachronica, 29(1), 28-71.

Hopper, P. & E. C. Traugott. (1993). Grammaticalization. 1st edition. Cambridge: CPU.

Jespersen, O. (1917). Negation in English and Other Languages (= Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser 1). Copenhagen: A. F. Høst.

Kiparsky, P. & Condoravdi, C. (2006). “Tracking Jespersen’s Cycle”. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Modern Greek Dialects and Linguistic Theory ed. by Mark Janse, Brian D. Joseph & Angela Ralli, 172–197. Mytilene: Doukas.

Lehmann, C. (2015). Thoughts on grammaticalization. 3rd edition 2015 (Classics in Linguistics 1). Berlin: Language Science Press.

Norde, M. (2012). On the origin(s) of the possessor doubling construction in Norwegian.  In: Van der Liet, H. & Norde, M. (eds.) Language for its own sake. Essays on Language and Literature offered to Harry Perridon, pp. 327-358. Amsterdam: Scandinavisch Instituut. (= Amsterdam Contributions to Scandinavian Studies 8).

Traugott, E.C. & Trousdale, G. (2013). Constructionalization and Constructional Changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Weiß, H. (2008). The Possessor that Appears Twice. Variation, Structure and function of Possessive Doubling in German. In S. Barbiers, M. Lekakou, M. van der Ham, O. Koeneman (Eds.), Microvariation in Syntactic Doubling (pp. 381–401). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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