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Areal Convergence in Eastern Central European Languages and Beyond

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Edited By Luka Szucsich, Agnes Kim and Uliana Yazhinova

This book assembles contributions dealing with language contact and areal linguistics. The goal of the book is to investigate linguistic convergence in Europe with a strong focus on the languages of Eastern Central Europe which show many remarkable similarities. The focus is put on a methodical and empirical component in the investigation of two or more languages in the context of possible language contact phenomena. Languages of Eastern Central Europe and adjacent parts of Europe use a considerable amount of common vocabulary due to the transfer of loanwords during a long period of cultural contact. But they also share several grammatical features—phonological, morphological and syntactic ones. This book tackles lexical and grammatical phenomena in language contact situations. The authors take up diachronic, synchronic and language acquisitional perspectives, and discuss methodological problems for the field.

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Remarks on the Development of the Czech Modality System in Contact with German1

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Abstract: The present paper offers five diachronic case studies which are devoted to the formation and development of several Czech modal expressions, taking into account the German influence on the Czech modality system. In the studies about the verbs mít ‘should’ and potřebovat ‘to need’, which are used as a conditional marker and as a deontic modal verb respectively, two semantic loans of peripheral modal meaning are demonstrated. The studies about hodlat ‘to want (to do sth.)’ and uspět ‘to succeed in sth.’ as well as the modal adverb možná ‘maybe’, exemplify the diachronic development to and from a modal meaning/function. In the last study, semantic parallels between the Czech modal particle také and German auch ‘also, too, as well’ are explained by the diachronic relationship of both languages.

Keywords: language contact, Czech, German, modality, diachrony

1 Introduction

This contribution closely focuses on several particular topics relating to both Czech and German modality. It does not deliver a detailed overview on the whole subject, but introduces five separate studies as examples for the development of modality means. These individual issues are connected to some general information about the Czech modality system and also to previous research results.

The paper is structured as follows: The first three sections offer a theoretical background on modality. Section 1, the introduction, outlines some characteristics of the diachronic and areal approach and provides basic information about German-Czech language contact. Section...

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