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Satzmodus und die Diskurspartikel hm: Intonation und Interpretation 

Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 236



This article proposes that the interpretation of sentence mood in German discourse is essentially controlled by the use of different intonation contours. We claim that [-wh]-sentences (declarative questions, progredient declaratives), V1-sentences (polarity questions, conditionals) and [+wh]-sentences ([+wh]-questions, echo-questions) are distinguished not only by rising vs. falling tonal movements but by different types of rising contours (concave vs. convex tonal movements). These contours also discriminate types of the discourse particle hm and determine their interpretation, although in an opposite distribution than with the sentences. To complete the picture of the expression of sentence mood, V1-declaratives and exclamatives are integrated into the discussion. This study opens up new perspectives to sentence mood theory in that it considers intonation as a non-truth-functional meaning forming part of sentence interpretation.