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On main clause phenomena in German


Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 254

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In the first part of the paper I discuss the popular view that main clause phenomena are licensed by underlying illocutionary elements, e.g. by Force heads. I will point out several empirical and theoretical problems of this view. An alternative approach is outlined in the following sections. For embeddable main clause phenomena, all more general restrictions on their occurrence in embedded clauses of German will be shown to follow from three semantic/ pragmatic conditions on their possible contexts. These conditions are rooted in the nature of the phenomena as elements that express specific speaker attitudes. As for unembeddable main clause phenomena, I will try to show that, in typical cases, they reflect the nonembeddability of sentence-mood constructions. This approach will be argued to solve or avoid the problems of theories based on illocutionary licensors and to be both more economical and more explanatory than these theories. It also offers an account of the close connection between main clause phenomena and illocutions.