From Modal Particle to Interrogative Marker: A Study of German <i>denn</i>

Josef Bayer

in Functional Heads

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746736
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949519 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax

From Modal Particle to Interrogative Marker: A Study of German denn

Show Summary Details


The German particle den is the result of a diachronic development from a local/temporal adverb to a modal particle that is confined to interrogative root clauses. This chapter introduces the semantic as well as the syntactic properties of den, arguing that it heads a pre-VP functional projection that is in a feature valuation relation with the interrogative force head of the root clause. The approach captures not only word order facts in the root clause, but it also can explain cases in which den contributes to the illocutionary force of a question although it emerges and takes scope in the embedded clause. The chapter is organized as follows: Section 1 explains the discourse function of den. Section 2 develops the syntax of den. Section 3 turns to the role of den in Bavarian where it has turned into a clitic element, while Section 4 concludes.

Keywords: German particle; adverb; modal particle; interrogative root clauses; syntax; Bavarian; clitic element

Chapter.  6483 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.