Inferential must from a contrastive Dutch- German perspective : semantics and constructional aspects
Although the modal verbs moeten (Dutch) and müssen (German) have a higher relative frequency than their English counterpart must, the opposite holds for the epistemic and/or evidential (in the following: ep./ev.) uses of must, i.e. ep./ev. uses of must are considerably more frequent than ep./ev. uses of either moeten or müssen (Mortelmans 2012). Mortelmans (2012) has argued that the higher frequency of English ep./ev. must can be accounted for on functional grounds. More specifically, English ep./ ev. must is argued (1) to have a wider distribution as it also expresses pure conjectures which lack a straightforward evidential basis (whereas ev./ ep. müssen and moeten typically evoke the presence of some kind of evidence) and (2) ep./ ev. must is also used for intersubjective purposes, more in particular to signal consolidation and solidarity with the addressee. In the present paper, I would like to further pursue this line of contrastive research. First, the different translation strategies used to render ep./ ev. must in Dutch and German (these involve the use of adverbs, other modal verbs and zero expression) will be looked into. Second, the ep./ ev. uses of Dutch moeten and German müssen will be addressed more closely, in order to grasp the characteristics of the ep./ev. use of these verbs, also in contrast to English ep./ ev. must. The ultimate goal is to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of how the conceptual domain of (epistemic) medium certainty/ indirect evidentiality (see Boye 2012) is structured in German, Dutch and English. The corpus on which the analysis is based consists of a self-compiled contrastive parallel corpus of detective novels. English, German and Dutch originals are taken into account as well as translations from Italian and Swedish originals.
Source (book)
Evidentiality and epistemic modality : conceptual and descriptive issues / Carretero, M. [edit.]; et al. [edit.]
Source (series)
Linguistic insights, studies in language and communication ; 297
Bern : Peter Lang , 2023
p. 137-172
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Creation 05.11.2023
Last edited 08.11.2023
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