Alexander V Bochkov bochkov at HAWAII.EDU
Sat Feb 13 22:26:58 UTC 2010

Dear Nigel Vincent,

Your observation works for Russian, too:

(1) Ia dolzhen jemu 200 rublej.
     I   owe      him   200 roubles
     "I owe him 200 roubles."

(2) Ia dolzhen pozvonit' jemu segodnja vecherom.
      I  owe      call.PFV  him   today      evening
     "I should call him tonight."

I believe that the word "dolzhen" (other forms: dolzhna - feminine, dolzhno - neuter) is an adjective in Russian, and modal verbs as a class do not exist in Russian (fellow typologists, feel free to correct me!)

Alexander Bochkov
MA, Second Language Studies  

Fulbright Scholar 2006-2008

----- Original Message -----
From: Nigel Vincent <nigel.vincent at MANCHESTER.AC.UK>
Date: Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:10 pm
Subject: owe/must

> In many of the Romance languages the same verb means both 'owe' 
> and  
> 'must' (cf Italian debere, French devoir, Portuguese dever, 
> etc). In  
> English 'ought' is etymologically the past tense of 'owe'. I 
> would be  
> grateful for further instances of languages in which, 
> either  
> synchronically or diachronically, the same verb covers both the 
> modal  
> and the 'owe' meanings.
> Nigel Vincent
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