Linguists Diewald and Smirnova, of Leibniz University, Hannover, present a thorough explanation of their argument that the German language is developing a grammatical form that expresses evidentiality. Their proof is based on an historical study of four verbs: "to seem", "to threaten" "to promise", and "to become". All of these have evolved over the centuries from concrete into abstract meanings, the latter indicating degrees of evidentiary knowledge. The authors are aware that there are two schools of thought on the existence of evidentiaries in modern German. Therefore, they spend much time in creating a clear definition of their terms. They then look at the four verbs in present day German, after which they trace changes in grammatical usage from Old High German to the present. The final chapter gives a comprehensive summary of their conclusions. Annotation c2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gabriele Diewald and Elena Smirnova, Leibniz Universitat Hannover, Germany.