2020_13_02_05 - XLinguae

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Open access Issues > Isuue n_2_2020 > section n_2_2020
The curious case of translating German modal particle wohl into English and Albanian

Vjosa Hamiti – Muhamet Hamiti

DOI: 10.18355/XL.2020.13.02.05

This paper shall examine the translation of the German modal particle (MP) wohl into English and Albanian, using a literary corpus, namely the first three chapters of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain; 80 occurrences of the MP wohl in German. This is of particular interest, as German is considered a language rich in particles, whereas English and Albanian are poor in this respect. MPs in German belong to the linguistic means that serve to express modality. Modality is a semantic category that expresses the speaker's attitude on the validity of the facts to which the statement relates. One could also conceive of modality as the expression of the speaker's attitude to a proposition. The object of this research paper, therefore, is to determine the equivalents in English and Albanian of German MP wohl. The paper establishes the palette of linguistic means available in English and Albanian, respectively, to transfer the meaning of the German MP wohl. The results of our corpus analysis, based on the English and Albanian translations of Mann’s novel, prove that there are no direct equivalents of the German MP wohl in the two translating languages, but that there are varying degrees to which the speaker attitude is translated into English and Albanian.

Key words: modal particles (MPs), German, English, Albanian, translation, modality

Pages: 60 - 77

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