Aspects meets modality : a semantic analysis of the German Am-Progressive
Faculty of Social Sciences. Instructional and Educational Sciences
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Journal of Germanic linguistics. - Cambridge, 2001, currens
, p. 1-30
University of Antwerp
This paper presents a corpus-based analysis of the semantics of the German am V-inf sein construction, or am-progressive. Like its English counterpart and many other progressive constructions in the world's languages, the am-progressive is shown to convey not only a variety of aspecto-temporal meanings, but also a range of (inter)subjective qualifications, such as intensification, irritation, and evasiveness. These (inter)subjective connotations are argued to reflect the am-progressive's core meaning of epistemic contingency, which we believe is instantiated in all of its uses.