Modal Verbs in Germanic and Romance Languages
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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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.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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