History and grammaticalisation of "doch"/"toch"


  • Henk Zeevat
  • Elena Karagjosova




The paper investigates the origins of the German/Dutch particle toch/doch) in the hope of shedding light on a puzzle with respect to doch/toch and to shed some light on two theoretical issues. The puzzle is the nearly opposite meaning of the stressed and unstressed versions of the particle which cannot be accounted for in standard theories of the meaning of stress. One theoretical issue concerns the meaning of stress: whether it is possible to reduce the semantic contribution of a stressed item to the meaning of the item and the meaning of stress. The second issue is whether the complex use of a particle like doch/toch can be seen as an instance of spread or whether it has to be seen as having a core meaning which is differentiated by pragmatics operating in different contexts. We use the etymology of doch and doch as to+u+h (that+ question marker+ emphatic marker) to argue for an origin as a question tag checking a hearer opinion. Stress on the tag indicates an opposite opinion (of the common ground or the speaker) and this sets apart two groups of uses spreading in different directions. This solves the puzzle, indicates that the assumption of spread is useful and offers a subtle correction of the interpretation of stress. While stress always means contrast with a contrasting item, if the particle use is due to spread, it is not guaranteed that the unstressed particle has a corresponding use (or inversely).






Zeevat, Henk, und Elena Karagjosova. 2009. „History and Grammaticalisation of "doch" ‚toch‘“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 51 (Januar):135-52. https://doi.org/10.21248/zaspil.51.2009.377.