Marianna Gosert-Medve:
Werden als Modalverb?

Is it possible to classify werden as a German modal verb? This is the main question which is to be answered in the paper.
As their specific pecularity the German modal verbs are polyfunctional, i.e. they have both an epistemic and a non-epistemic meaning. On the contrary, werden has not got a non-epistemic meaning: indeed, the non-epistemic meaning (e.g. the expression of intension) usually attributed to werden is not carried by its semantic representation but is rooted in the context at the CS-level. Syntactically, it also behaves differently from modal verbs – actually, werden constitutes neither control-construction nor raising-construction but only a verb-complex. That is why we use werden either as an auxiliary in the future tense or as an epistemic verb. The auxiliary werden in the future tense develops from the copula werden which has an inchoative meaning by means of the narrowing of the paradigm and the lexical meaning. At a later stage of the grammaticalization of werden its use as an epistemic modal verb appears. Werden+ infinitive in this sense has an autonomous semantic and syntactic structure, which differs from its structure as an auxiliary.

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