Kantian Grammar Applied to French, English, Danish and Some Other Languages

Hanne Korzen

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    Many linguists refer to Kant, but they do not really seem to take him seriously. I will try to show that a Little closer look at Kant's cognitive model might yield insight into certain important aspects of the syntacticsemantic constitution of the sentence in different languages. I will also show that Hamann, Herder and their many followers are completely wrong in arguing that Kant's model was influenced by his own language without himself knowing it. In the present work, I am especially concerned with the difference between Space and time adjuncts on the one hand, and causal adjuncts on the other hand. In a series of publications, I have investigated the French interrogative word pourquoi ('why'), which, contrary to the other interrogative words, cannot be followed by stylistic inversion, and I have tried to explain why pourquoi, which functions as a
    causal adjunct, behaves differently from quand ('when') and où ('where), adjuncts of time and place respectively. During this exploration, it struck me that most of the peculiarities attached to the causal adjuncts in French and the way they differed from time and place adjuncts were exactly the same in Danish even
    though these languages differ radically in lexicon, morphology and syntax. It appears that English and, more surprisingly, two non Indo-European languages – namely, Japanese and Hungarian – behave in the same way
    as French and Danish. I explain this difference between causal adjuncts and time and place adjuncts by postulating a different degree of attachment to the verb, and I have created a sentence model which seem to fit nicely into Kant's cognitive model. This might indicate that we are dealing with something universal.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGlobe: A Journal of Language, Culture and Communication
    Pages (from-to)91-107
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


    • Causal adjuncts
    • Danish
    • English
    • French
    • Hungarian
    • Japanese
    • Kant
    • Syntax
    • Semantics

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