Article published in:Modes of Modality: Modality, typology, and universal grammar
Edited by Elisabeth Leiss and Werner Abraham
[Studies in Language Companion Series 149] 2014
► pp. 291–316
Modal particles in causal clauses
The case of German weil wohl
It is well-known that modal particles are not only licensed in root clauses, but also in a proper subset of embedded clauses. However, most existing accounts are primarily concerned with syntactic licensing conditions of modal particles in embedded clauses, while their semantic aspects remain relatively unexplored. This article focuses on a particularly intriguing set of cases in which the commitment-weakening German modal particle wohl occurs in veridical contexts created by the causal connective weil, as in Er hat ein schlechtes Gewissen, weil er wohl gelogen hat. We argue that this combination gives rise to a rather complex interpretation that is unexpected given standard assumptions about modal particles and causal clauses, schematically ‘p and assume(speaker)(q) and (if q then cause(q)(p))’ for sentences of the form ‘p weil wohl q’, and we sketch a possible route for compositional interpretation of these constructions in a dynamic framework based on speaker commitments.
Published online: 24 January 2014
1991 Discourse particles in German: How does their illocutive force come about? In Discourse Particles: Descriptive and Theoretical Investigations on the Logical, Syntactic and Pragmatic Properties of Discourse Particles in German [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 12], Werner Abraham (ed.), 203–252. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Antomo, Mailin & Steinbach, Markus
Davis, Christopher, Potts, Christopher & Speas, Margaret
To appear. German ‘doch’: An element that triggers a contrast presupposition. In Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistic Society 46. Chicago IL: University of Chicago.
Hooper, Joan B. & Thompson, Sandra
Larson, Richard & Sawada, Miyuki
Sæbø, Kjell Johan
Cited by 1 other publications
Tan, Jennifer & Johannes Mursell
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 03 april 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.