Linguistik online 13, 1/03

Niederländisch toch und Deutsch doch: Gleich oder doch nicht ganz?

Ad Foolen (Nijmegen)



In this paper, a semantic analysis is presented of the Dutch particle toch and its German cognate doch. On the formal level they may appear as either adverb, conjunction or interjection, and they also occur in different sentence types. It is argued that the core meaning of both particles is the same. The range of uses differs, however, between the two languages. For example, German doch can be used as an 'answering particle' in reaction to a negative statement or question. This is not possible in Dutch. The core meaning of the particles can be explicated in terms of three steps: the utterance with toch/doch represents a positive step. This step is preceded (implicitly or explicitly) by a negative step, which is in turn preceded by a positive step wich is identical to the actual positive step. For certain uses of toch and doch, however, we have to assume a modification of this general schema. A Dutch novel (by Maarten 't Hart, 1983) and its German translation was used as a corpus. The original text contained 270 occurrences of toch, and the translation 230 doch's.


full text