Publication
Title
Epistemic must and its cognates in German and Dutch : the subtle differences
Author
Abstract
This paper investigates the uses of epistemic must and its Dutch and German cognates moeten and müssen. Starting point is the observation that epistemic must occurs remarkably more often in English than its immediate counterparts in the two other languages. By means of a detailed comparison on the basis of a self-compiled EnglishDutchGerman translation corpus of fictional texts, this paper identifies the factors determining these frequency differences. First, it appears that English must covers a wider inferential ground than its Dutch and German counterparts, as it can also code highly subjective conjectural inferences apart from the typical must-inferences based on observable evidence and general knowledge. Second, epistemic must is often used to appeal to the addressee, to invoke the addressee's sympathy among other things. Such intersubjective uses of epistemic must seem to be rare with the German and Dutch cognates. Third, general communicative preferences in English promote the use of hedging devices (like epistemic modal verbs), as they contribute to an indirect and addressee-oriented way of interaction that is more valued in English than in German.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Journal of pragmatics: an interdisciplinary quarterly of language studies. - Amsterdam
Publication
Amsterdam : 2012
ISSN
0378-2166
Volume/pages
44:15(2012), p. 2150-2164
ISI
000312522200004
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 10.01.2013
Last edited 19.11.2017
To cite this reference