Modal verbs as compared to German modals

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by J.F. de TROYES, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    This question is directly related to a previous thread Expressing modality , but I prefer to open another as I'd like to compare Dutch and German modal verbs from the same viewpoint, i.e when they are used to express how more or less certain a fact is being assessed by the speaker.

    A German grammar for French students suggests this gradation from hearsay to near certainty :

    1- Das Gerücht soll wahr sein (Hearsay ) ( The rumour is said to be true )

    2- Das Gerücht mag wahr sein ( Weak possiblity )

    3- Das Gerücht könnte wahr sein ( Possibility )

    4- Das Gerücht kann wahr sein ( Stronger possibility )

    5- Das Gerücht wird / dürfte wahr sein ( Probability )

    6- Das Gerücht will wahr sein ( Near certainty )

    Obviously my own comments and the suggested scale could be debated , but I am chiefly wondering how to translate into dutch. Thanks a lot .
  2. Sjonger Senior Member

    Dutch - Netherlands
    In my opinion in Dutch the possible gradations are less then in German, and to express the same grade of certainty you would in some of the cases have to add an adverb:

    1 Het gerucht zou waar zijn
    2 Het gerucht zou eventueel / misschien waar kunnen zijn (this one is a bit hard)
    3 Het gerucht zou waar kunnen zijn
    4 Het gerucht kan waar zijn
    5 Het gerucht zal wel waar zin
    6 Het gerucht moet wel waar zijn
  3. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Thanks so much for your translations. I know it's sometimes very uneasy to find equivalents of modal verbs , due to their different values from a language to another.

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