The grammaticalization of Mainland Scandinavian MAYBE


  • Karin Beijering University of Groningen



This paper is concerned with epistemic adverbs of the MAYBE type (deriving from a modal auxiliary ‘can’ or ‘may’ + a main verb meaning ‘happen’ or ‘be’) in Mainland Scandinavian. MAYBE is a sentence adverb that occurs both in V2 and non-V2 clauses. In non-V2 clauses, MAYBE is the first constituent followed by a clause which has subordinate word order. In V2 clauses, MAYBE can be any constituent except the second one. Swedish MAYBE may also occur in non-V2 clauses in which it is the second constituent, i.e., MAYBE occupies the position of the finite verb. This clause type is not available in Norwegian and Danish. I will outline the etymology, development and grammaticalization path of Mainland Scandinavian MAYBE and argue that the coexistence V2 and non-V2 clauses with MAYBE is due to different stages of grammaticalization in the development of MAYBE.

Author Biography

Karin Beijering, University of Groningen

Scandinavian Languages and Literatures, PhD student




How to Cite

Beijering, Karin. 2010. “The Grammaticalization of Mainland Scandinavian MAYBE”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 1 (1).