Article published in:Modal Verbs in Germanic and Romance Languages
Edited by Johan van der Auwera and Patrick Dendale
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 14] 2000
► pp. 131–148
On the 'Evidential' Nature of the 'Epistemic' Use of the German Modals müssen and sollen
Abstract. The difference with respect to the kind of evidence evoked by the so-called 'epistemic' uses of the German modals müssen and sollen is argued to affect the epistemic contribution of both verbs in a crucial way. With quotative sollen, a genuine subjective-epistemic moment (which should not automatically be associated with an expression of scepticism, i.e. a low commitment on the part of the speaker) remains marginal at best, whereas inferential müssen easily invites speaker-oriented interpretations to the extent that the speaker can be taken to be rather strongly committed to the factuality of the proposition. The latter 'epistemic' interpretation, however, can but need not occur.
Published online: 21 January 2011
Cited by 13 other publications
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Whitt, Richard J.
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