Some Observations on Hedging Phenomena and Modifying Devices as Regional Markers in the Speech of Young East Germans
Hedging and modality are be considered an area of pragmatics which may serve to arrive at a better understanding of the communication difficulties that persist between East and West Germans. In this paper, I will present a broad overview of the communicative situation in Germany today and explore some occurrences of certain types of hedging in the speech of young East Germans. The data analysed is taken from a large corpus of video-recorded TV-discus-sion/round table talks. Special attention has been paid to the use of certain hedging constructions which may be explained not so much in terms of politeness, but more as an attempt to hide communicative uncertainty. Face saving strategies and the role of apparent disclaimers as an alternative to overt dissent will be examined as an alternative explanation. Finally, it will be argued that the divergent development of the German language in East and West Germany, respectively, was in the area of "linguistische Nuancenkompetenz" (Weinrich 1986, 19).