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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 16, 2009

„… ohne jetzt nun gleich aggressiv zu werden“: Ein Zeitadverb als Diskursmarker

Helmut Rehbock
From the journal


Unlike nun (“now”), a German time adverb of Indo-European origin, the synonymous adverb jetzt, created in medieval times, has not produced any uses which would allow it to be allocated to the word class ‘discourse particle’. But since 1983 some examples have been discussed—first for the Alemannic speech area—of a jetzt which does not refer to the present, real or imagined, but expresses the speaker's concern and his wish to control the hearer's attention. Such non-referential uses of jetzt in today's spoken German are the subject-matter of the following paper. The attempt is made to describe and classify these usages by analyzing examples drawn from various sources, mainly from corpora of the Institut für Deutsche Sprache (Mannheim). The common denominator for all occurrences of jetzt is its temporal deixis, while the main differences lie in the respective tasks the deixis is meant to fulfil: either, in the referential case, to link the sentence proposition with the speaker's present; or, non-referentially, to evoke various implied meta-communicative contents: or as ‘pure’ deixis, to highlight the relevance of what the speaker is saying. Special functions of the meta-communicative usage are: emphasizing relevance, marking examples and counterarguments, focussing on constituents and increasing contrasts. Some of these functions seem to be reserved for jetzt, rather than nun. In all cases, jetzt remains a syntactically integrated adverb which, besides its normal referential use, can be functionalized for non-referential purposes: a deictic time adverb functioning as a ‘discourse marker’

Adresse des Verfassers: Dr. Helmut Rehbock, Am blauen Stein 22c, D-38302 Wolfenbüttel. E-Mail:

Online erschienen: 2009-10-16
Erschienen im Druck: 2009-September