In the Bavarian dialect the neuter interrogative pronoun was 'what' is also used as a comparative particle, e.g. was frischers sichst nie was a Pfersibaamblüh 'you will never see anything fresher than peach blossom'. Previous attempts to explain the origin of this usage have proven unsuccessful. While being unknown to other German dialects, it mirrors the general comparative particle construction found in Romance languages. This remarkable typological affinity is assessed. In particular, attention is drawn towards the areal linguistic convergence of Bavarian and neighbouring Rhaeto-Romance dialects. Finally, it is asked whether the Bavarian construction may have arisen through language contact with Romance. Because the Old Bavarian territory was for centuries part of the Roman Empire and was Ger-manised relatively late, this thesis gains a certain degree of plausibility. It is further strengthened by the fact that numerous other structural correspondences exist between Bavarian and the Romance languages.
|Translated title of the contribution||On the origin of the comparison particle 'was' in Bavarian|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2002|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language