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Quite recently I have noticed that most Bavarian verbs can become theoretical epistemic modal. What I mean by that is that you can take any verb, e.g. "[i] ko" - "[I] can", and turn it into it's theoretical form "[i] kand" - "[I] could". The special thing about Bavarian though is that you can make it even more theoretical and turn it into "[i] kandad" which could be translated to "[I] could (in theory)". Another example is "[i] muas" - "[I] must/need to" turning to "[i] miassd" - "[I] would need to" and finally "[i] miassad" - "[I] would need to (in theory)".

Are there other languages that have this "two tier system"? I'm especially interested in other Germanic languages.

I am sorry if I misused any technical term. I just got into studying them, so if they are misused, please tell so I can fix it.

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  • Concerning misuse of technical terms: Insisting on Bavarian being a Germanic language in every second post becomes a little annyoing after a while ;)
    – lemontree
    Jun 10 '16 at 22:26
  • Do you have evidence that speaks against it? If so, please show me, UNESCO (who declared Bavarian as endangered language) and while you are at it, change the English Wikipedia article, which also talks about it as language. At most you can argue that it is a group of dialects, but it is definitely NOT a dialect of standard German. Jun 11 '16 at 10:21
  • Yes. I rely on the, as far as I got to know it in my linguistics course of studies, most widely accepted definition that speakers of different dialects can understand each other, while speakers of different languages cannot (although those definitions are of course always highly vague, especially when there are dialect continuums). Clearly, speakers of High German or other German dialects can understand Bavarian speakers and vice versa. If it were a different language, mutual communication between Standard German and Bavarian would have to be about as difficult as mutual communication...
    – lemontree
    Jun 11 '16 at 11:06
  • ... between Standard German and, e.g. Dutch, which could as well be seen as a German dialect but is rather classified as a language due to the distinction I mentioned above.
    – lemontree
    Jun 11 '16 at 11:07
  • A more precise classification according to Heinz Kloss, to find here (which also explicitly classifies Bavarian as a dialect of German by the way, p. 81), involves the notions of "Dachsprache", "Ausbausprache" and "Abstandsprache", all of which a language needs to fulfill in order to be classified as an independent language rather than a dialect. I don't want to go into the details about it here, but you can read up on it in the original source I linked...
    – lemontree
    Jun 11 '16 at 11:08

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