From a focus particle to a conjunction: Diachronic and synchronic analysis of German zumal

  • Ira Eberhardt University of Tübingen
Keywords: focus particle, causal conjunction zumal, German, diachrony, syntax, grammaticalization


This article addresses the German conjunction zumal ‘the more so as’ from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. On the basis of historical corpus data, I trace the uses and meaning development of the lexical item zumal, from a temporal adverb to a conjunction. I argue that it acquired its current syntactic and interpretive features from the final step in this development: the focus particle zumal adopted some syntactic features and meaning components from the subordinate causal conjunctions da and weil, with which it frequently cooccurred in the historical data. In the current language it is thus best analyzed as a subordinate causal conjunction with focus-marking properties, similar to the combination besonders weil ‘especially since’.