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CHAT: "filling words" (was: Contractions in colloquial German)

From:J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 1, 2005, 20:16
On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 20:19:04 +0100, Carsten Becker
<naranoieati@...> wrote:

> Colloq | Pronctn | Std. Language | Translation >----------+----------+---------------+-----------------
> | | denn | filling word in > | | | questions
The term _Füllwort_ 'filling word' is from a time when the Grammarians couldn't describe the use of these words yet. Nowadays, they're often called _Abtönungspartikeln_ 'gradation particles' (but there are other terms as well). They are difficult to describe, since they have a meta-information of how the speaker thinks that the content of the utterance fits within the context situation. The word _denn_ means somthing like 'in this case'. The English word _then_ can appearently be used in a very similar fashion (if it's not used with the meaning of 'at that time'). Hast du eine Ausbildung gemacht? have you (sing.) a formation made 'Have you made a formation?' (just asking) Hast du denn eine Ausbildung gemacht? 'Have you made a formation, then? (in this case) The German Abtönungspartikeln have an additional purely syntactical function: They mark the sentence focus. In the above example, the focus is on _eine Ausbildung_ ('a formation'), whereas in the following example, it's on _du_ ('you'): Hast denn du eine Ausbildung gemacht? kry@s: j. 'mach' wust