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Discourse Particles

Formal Approaches to their Syntax and Semantics

Ed. by Bayer, Josef / Struckmeier, Volker

Series:Linguistische Arbeiten 564

eBook (PDF)
Publication Date:
December 2016
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Root infinitivals and modal particles. An interim report

Gärtner, Hans-Martin


This interim report revisits and expands on findings by Gärtner (2013) concerning the interaction of German adult root infinitivals (RIs) and modal particles (MPs). The central empirical results concern bare (zu-less) “deontic” RIs and wh-RIs, which restrict occurrence of MPs to subsets of those allowed in imperatives and finite interrogatives, respectively. The specific patterns invite an analysis of the former type by means of Haegeman-style truncation promoting an irrealis operator within a Cinquean hierarchy of functional projections. Additional divergences from imperatives are attributed to a lack of grammaticalized “call on the addressee” leading to constraints on the ordering sources able to interact with covert modality. Wh-RIs are argued to resist epistemic modification at their (extended) propositional level due to internal “non-descriptive” (priority/goal/volition) modality. In addition to a discussion of the absence of polar interrogative and declarative RIs, forays are made into the diagnosis of MP (non-)occurrences within participial and stem-based RI-specimen.

Citation Information

Discourse Particles

Formal Approaches to their Syntax and Semantics

Edited by Bayer, Josef / Struckmeier, Volker

De Gruyter


Pages: 115–143

ISBN (Online): 9783110497151

DOI (Chapter): https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110497151-006

DOI (Book): https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110497151

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