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
> 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?
j. 'mach' wust