Sentence Adverbials, (Non-)At-Issueness, and Orientation in German—Evidence from Conditionals

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This paper investigates the behaviour and interpretation of German sentence adverbials like vielleicht, leider, anscheinend in conditionals. I present qualitative corpus examples to evaluate previous accounts linking the supposed ungrammaticality of sentence adverbials in conditionals to either non-at-issueness, speaker orientation and presuppositions. The data shows that all sentence adverbials felicitously appear conditionals. In many cases, they are interpreted non-at-issue and scope out of the conditional yielding a ‘factual’ interpretation. In some cases, epistemic and evidential sentence adverbials are interpreted at-issue. Considering all three factors I suggest an analysis linking the interpretation of the sentence adverbial to an evaluation situation.