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On the cooccurrence of "können" and "mall, in German "yes/no" interrogative sentences
In this paper the German modal particle mal is considered. This particle is often used in utterances involving orders or requests.
The first section considers the function of the particle discussed in the literature, which may be summerised as follows:
The modal particle mal is used in the illocutionary act of requesting and reduces the weight of the illocutionary force of a request. Thereby, the particle gives the request a polite character (Franck 1980, Weydt / Hentschel 1983, Thurmair 1989, Helbig 1994, Bublitz 2003, Iwasaki 1998, etc.).
However, in the second section I argue, based on my questionnaire survey, that the particle matreduces the degree of politeness when it is used with the German auxiliary verb können (=can) in a "yes/no" interrogative sentence despite the common use of können with mal.
The origin of the phenomenon is analysed in the third section of this paper, and I also mention the probability that the particle can only be used appropriately when it is used towards persons intimate with the speaker.
Finally I conclude that the cooccurrence of können and matin the "yes/no" interrogative sentence in German has no relation with politness.