Discourse particles in Indo-Aryan and in Germanic


Discourse particles – in German called Modalpartikeln or Abtönungspartikeln like aber, denn, doch, eben, halt, ja, nur, schon, vielleicht, wohl etc. – are adverb-like elements which play a role when sentence types (declaratives, interrogatives, imperatives) are turned into full-fledged utterances with illocutionary force. They have highly interesting properties and provide an important window into the syntax of the language. This joint project will study similar elements in Indo-Aryan languages, in particular in Bangla (also known as Bengali), a rather strict head-final language. As in German, correspondents in Bangla (?#7789?a, na, re, ki, to, je, ba etc.) often have a dual function in the language and appear in their function as discourse particles in a fixed position. But they differ in being like clitic elements which attract a focused phrase. The goal is to derive from the behavior of discourse particles common denominators in two remote Indo-Germanic languages and language groups, and to use these informations for a better formal grasp of syntactic variation. The Indian partner is Professor Probal Dasgupta, PhD from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata (West-Bengal, India). He is an internationally known syntactician and expert on Bangla. Since his 1980 New York University doctoral dissertation, Professor Dasgupta has frequently published on the grammar of particles and clause structure in Bangla.

  • AG Bayer (Allgemeine und Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft)
Funding sources
Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Project no.
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft third-party funds research funding program 682/09
Further information
Period: 13.08.2009 – 12.09.2010