Right-dislocation in Catalan: Tails, Polarity and Activation

in International Review of Pragmatics
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While our understanding has grown of the discourse role of right-dislocation (RD), there exists a class of RD (continuing RD) that have proven impervious to any principled analysis, for the role of the dislocate is (apparently) null, given that its referent appears immediately before the RD and, thus, simple pronominalisation should suffice to retrieve it. This paper aims to account for the pragmatic felicity conditions of continuing RD by looking at the role of polarity, an overlooked factor in previous work. Particularly, we will show that a significant amount of continuing RD involve the contradiction of part of the interlocutor’s common knowledge. Moreover, we will argue that RD does not have a single discourse function, but several: it can work as a “tail” or as an activation mechanism.

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