The pragmatics of modal verbs in English and German

Timotijevic, Jelena (2008) The pragmatics of modal verbs in English and German In: Rasulic, Katarina and Trbojevic Milosevic, Ivana, eds. Structures across cultures. English Language and Literature Studies . Cigoja Press, pp. 85-99. ISBN 9788686419453

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Modals have several distinct uses, and the relationship between these uses is a controversial issue in linguistics. We argue here that the relationship is different for different modals, and that the semantics and pragmatics of modal verbs in English and German is less systematic than has traditionally been assumed. Focusing on 'can' and 'may' and their German counterparts 'konnen' and 'mogen', we propose a new theoretical approach to analysing modals cross-linguistically and use the work of Recanati (2004) to capture the idea of "more pragmatics". We propose that the central issue in analysing modal meanings is the balance of semantics and pragmatics in the interpretation of modals. Our analysis will then investigate how this distinction can be accounted for in the evaluation of German modals and what impact its value has cross-linguistically.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Subjects: Q000 Languages and Literature - Linguistics and related subjects > Q100 Linguistics
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Jelena Timotijevic
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2012 12:20
Last Modified: 15 May 2015 13:57

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