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Facets of Linguistics

Proceedings of the 14 th Norddeutsches Linguistisches Kolloquium 2013 in Halle an der Saale

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Edited By Anne Ammermann, Alexander Brock, Jana Pflaeging and Peter Schildhauer

This volume aims to represent the breadth and depth of current linguistic research of predominantly young linguists and thus to produce a snapshot of topical linguistic issues and trends. Therefore, it presents papers from systemic linguistics next to ones on text linguistics, sociolinguistics and the didactics of language. The volume is based on talks given at the 14 th Norddeutsches Linguistisches Kolloquium 2013 in Halle an der Saale. The book contains 14 contributions in English, and three in German.
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The Faces of the German Adverb garantiert

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Bjarne Ørsnes

Abstract

The article provides a description of the syntax and semantics of the German adverb garantiert (‘guaranteed’). This adverb is particular in that it can be both emphasising and relativising, meaning either definitely or most probably. I show that the adverb can modify an adjective, a verb or a whole clause and that the interpretation is highly dependent on the context. I provide a unified analysis and claim that the relativising semantics arises as a conversational implicature.

Introduction

In 2012 you could win a car from the German Market discounter Penny. If you managed to put together a jigsaw puzzle of a car, you should send it to Penny

(1) (…) und schon haben Sie das Auto garantiert gewonnen!1 (…) and then you have GARANTIERT won the car!

This formulation is somewhat puzzling if you look at the entry for garantiert in the Duden Universalwörterbuch (2007). The description and the example for garantiert in Duden suggest that it is an epistemic adverb meaning most probably. The speaker is not quite certain of the truth of the proposition. However, in this case Penny ought to know if you have won or not. Interestingly many participants in the competition have understood (1) quite differently, namely as a warrant from Penny: A complete picture means that you have won a car. Unfortunately, there were more complete pictures in the competition than cars so many customers felt deceived,...

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