Gutzmann, Daniel. 2015. Modal particles ≠ modal particles (= modal particles). Differences between German modal particles and how to deal with them semantically. Submitted to: Bayer, Josef & Volker Struckmeier (eds.): Discourse Particles – Formal Approaches to their Syntax and Semantics. Berlin: de Gruyter.


It is an implicit assumption in the literature on German modal particles (MPs) that they behave homogeneously. This assumption, however, has been challenged recently. First, it has been noted that not all MPs exhibit strict speaker orientation and that some can receive a non-speaker oriented reading. Secondly, while some MPs (like wohl) seem to modify the sentence mood directly, others (like ja) have been argued to make an independent contribution. This paper presents a formal, multidimensional framework that analyses MPs as contributing expressive/use-conditional content and sketches how it can model the observed heterogeneous behavior.

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