Discourse Particles, Discourse Relations and Information Structure: The Case of Nämlich

in International Review of Pragmatics
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Abstract

The paper presents an analysis of the meaning and discourse effects of the German discourse particle nämlich that unifies its different readings and explains its distributional properties. I suggest that nämlich is most adequately analysed in terms of it indicating a specificational relation between its host and the preceding sentence, which in a question-based framework can be implemented as indicating an answer to a "specifying question", a discourse question requiring an answer that provides a more detailed description of some aspect of the preceding utterance. The analysis represents a refinement and extension of the question-based analysis of nämlich developed in Onea and Volodina (2009) where nämlich is analysed in terms of indicating that its host is a short answer to an implicit constituent question or a Why-discourse question. The approach I provide suggests solutions to several puzzles related to the distributional properties of nämlich.

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