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Crosslinguistic Investigations of Language Use and Language Change
A basic property of human language is that it unfolds in time; the left and right margin of discourse units do not behave in a symmetrical fashion. The working hypothesis of this volume is that discourse elements at the left periphery have mainly subjective and discourse-structuring functions, whereas at the right periphery, such elements play an intersubjective or modalising role. However, the picture that emerges from the different contributions to this volume is far more complex. While it seems clear that the working hypothesis cannot be upheld in a “strong” way, most of the chapters – especially those based on corpus data – show that an asymmetry between left and right periphery does exist and that it is a matter of frequency.
In: Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery
In: Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery
In: Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery
In: Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery
In: Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery
In: Current Trends in Diachronic Semantics and Pragmatics

Abstract

Main-clause-initial puisque ‘but’ (?) is an insubordinated erstwhile causal conjunction. It signals that the information introduced by it should be known to the addressee. By doing so, puisque conveys an act of refutation directed against the immediately preceding utterance. As has been noted in the literature, insubordinated erstwhile conjunctions bear a close functional resemblance to German modal particles in that they integrate speech acts into the common ground—a function which we term abtönung. However, in spite of being eligible for abtönung, main-clause-initial puisque is basically a discourse marker rather than a modal particle; as we will show, its usage depends heavily on the sequential ordering of the discourse, whereas constraints of this kind play no role for modal particles. It has often been assumed that the diachronic mechanism behind insubordination is main-clause-ellipsis. However, based on Ford (1993) and Diessel & Hetterle (2011) we will argue that insubordinated puisque was brought about by a reanalysis in elaborative contexts. In the terms proposed by Detges & Waltereit (2016: 653), main-clause-initial puisque emerged from contexts where it served to negotiate the next move in the joint construction of discourse. It is this function that ultimately makes it a discourse-marker, despite its suitability for abtönung.

In: Beyond Grammaticalization and Discourse Markers

Abstract

Main-clause-initial puisque ‘but’ (?) is an insubordinated erstwhile causal conjunction. It signals that the information introduced by it should be known to the addressee. By doing so, puisque conveys an act of refutation directed against the immediately preceding utterance. As has been noted in the literature, insubordinated erstwhile conjunctions bear a close functional resemblance to German modal particles in that they integrate speech acts into the common ground—a function which we term abtönung. However, in spite of being eligible for abtönung, main-clause-initial puisque is basically a discourse marker rather than a modal particle; as we will show, its usage depends heavily on the sequential ordering of the discourse, whereas constraints of this kind play no role for modal particles. It has often been assumed that the diachronic mechanism behind insubordination is main-clause-ellipsis. However, based on Ford (1993) and Diessel & Hetterle (2011) we will argue that insubordinated puisque was brought about by a reanalysis in elaborative contexts. In the terms proposed by Detges & Waltereit (2016: 653), main-clause-initial puisque emerged from contexts where it served to negotiate the next move in the joint construction of discourse. It is this function that ultimately makes it a discourse-marker, despite its suitability for abtönung.

In: Beyond Grammaticalization and Discourse Markers