<i>“Same same but different” </i>– Modal particles, discourse markers and the art (and purpose) of categorization

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The term &#8220;Discourse Marker&#8221; (DM) tends to be defined via onomasiological &#8211; functional and universal &#8211; criteria, while the term &#8220;Modal Particle&#8221; (MP) usually refers to a semasiologically defined language-specific word class. Thus, both terms belong to different layers of linguistic description and may not be juxtaposed in direct comparison. Starting from this problem in current efforts of classification and using data from German, the paper proposes a definition of these terms which takes into account their different status. It is suggested that the broad functional domain of DM be set off against and contrasted with a newly established sister domain called &#8220;Text-Connective Marker&#8221; (= TCM), while the term MP be reserved for a language-specific word class with clearly specifiable formal and functional features.


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