Reciprocal Construction in German and Their Meanings Variations


This paper deals with the syntax and semantics of German reciprocal constructions. The reciprocal constructions in German are marked with the presence of a reflexive pronoun, such as sich and uns as shown in Karl und Maria lieben sich ’Karl and Maria love each other’. Sich in that sentence is a reflexive pronoun. To determine that one sentence is considered as a reciprocal construction and not reflexive, it can be tested with the technique of substitution, namely with einander ’each other /one another’. The substitution process of reflexive pronoun sich with einander then became Karl und Maria lieben einander ’Karl and Maria love each other’. The other way to test it is by using the paraphrase technique. The sentence is divided into two and express it in a different way, such as Karl liebt Maria und Maria liebt Karl, ’Karl loved Mary and Mary loved Karl’. This sentence still has the meaning of a reciprocal relationship, but it doesn’t contain the construction of reciprocity. Besides pronouns, verbs also play an important role in the German reciprocal construction. Semantically, the German reciprocal constructions indicate the meaning of reciprocal relationships between the subjects of the sentences. From some data, some various meanings were found which indicate the type of reciprocal relationship in German reciprocal construction.


Keywords: Reciprocal construction, Reflexive pronoun, German

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