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On <i>certainly</i> and <i>zeker</i>

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Abstract

This contribution investigates the meanings and uses of the English and Dutch adverbs <i>certainly </i>and <i>zeker</i>. In the range of adverbial expressions of epistemic modality, the ‘strong’ adverbs (expressing ‘certainty’) clearly tend to be used in a much more ‘flexible’ way than the (relatively) weaker ones, and this contribution is an attempt to get a better view of what this flexibility actually involves, on the basis of a careful analysis of corpus data. The comparative approach allows us to distinguish between features which are whims of a single language, and hence have little meaning beyond the grammar of that language, and features which reflect more profound issues in the analysis of the meanings at stake, and which therefore may reflect fundamental conceptual issues.

References

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