German modal particles

German modal particles (German: Modalpartikel or Abtönungspartikel) are uninflected words that are used mainly in the spontaneous spoken language in colloquial registers in German. Their dual function is to reflect the mood or the attitude of the speaker or the narrator and to highlight the sentence's focus.

Often, a modal particle has an effect that is vague and depends on the overall context. Speakers sometimes combine several particles, as in doch mal, ja nun or ja doch nun mal. It is a feature typical of the spoken language.

Most German words can be translated into English without any problems but modal particles are a challenge to translate because English has no real equivalent to them.


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