The use of the Dutch additive particle ook ‘too’ to avoid contrast

Tijn Schmitz, Lotte Hogeweg, Helen de Hoop


The Dutch discourse particle ook ‘too’ is traditionally described as an additive particle: a proposition is added to the discourse that also applies to at least one alternative. However, this does not straightforwardly account for all uses of ook. Following Sæbø (2004) we propose that an important function of ook ‘too’ is to avoid the establishment of a relation of contrast between the proposition that contains ook and some other, often implicit, proposition in the discourse. Data from a corpus study as well as a sentence completion task supports this analysis. Although two figures shared similarities, participants interpreted the relation between them as contrastive. If ook ‘too’ was added, the contrastive reading disappeared. This shows that, rather than just adding something to the discourse, ook ‘too’ avoids an otherwise contrastive interpretation.

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© Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde | ISSN (print): 0040-7550 | eISSN (online): 2212-0521