German and English display, despite their genetic relatedness, a number of structural differences, which have their sources in the historical development of the two languages. Yet do all these differences fit with the frequently made claim that English is ‘less precise’ than German?
The present study contributes to this discussion. It contains an empirical comparison of the syntactic behaviour of verbs in a particular register: broadcast football commentary. With the practical application of the valency model for the descriptive analysis, further aspects of language are discussed, such as the notion of verb valency in connection with spoken language, the relation between context-specific and “general” language, motivations for language production and differences between grammatical license and usage. This book shows that research on authentic spontaneous speech is possible and important to complement comparative studies based on written texts or grammatical intuition.