The Real, the Apparent, and What is <i>eigentlich</i>


  • Regine Eckardt



In this paper, I will propose a uniform analysis for adjectival and certain instances of adverbial eigentlich. The analysis rests on the assumption that eigentlich contrasts the nominal content of a concept C with a contextually given notion of phenomenological evidence for C-hood. eigentlich offers the semantic frame to refer to two ways of C-hood which are usually supplied by context. In the adjectival use, the discourse content should provide an N exemplar in the true sense (an eigentliches N) along with an apparent N, thereby proving the two notions to be different. In the adverbial use, the message conveyed is usually that the actual world nominally satisfies some proposition p (eigentlich, p) while the actual world looks as if a contrasting proposition q were the case. The analysis improves on earlier accounts in German descriptive linguistics in that it offers a fully compositional account of the semantic and pragmatic contribution of eigentlich in a wide variety of constructions, including focus, contrastive topic and questions. The analysis proposes a delineation of eigentlich as an emotive marker which differs from the content use in prosody, syntax, focus sensitivity and meaning.