The continental Germanic languages are well known to possess a wealth of modal particles (such as eigentlich , auch , and denn in German), whereas this is not the case in the Romance languages. The argument advanced here is that in Romance languages their functions are expressed by other means. To supply a tertium comparationis the study elaborates a communicative definition of modality, enabling us to identify forms of modal shading independently of translation comparisons. The investigation also demonstrates that in diachronic terms forms of modal shading (whether particles or not) are recruited from a specific type of language change.
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