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Academic Paper


Title: A cognitive-pragmatic view of the French epistemic future
Author: Louis A. de Saussure
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.louisdesaussure.tk
Institution: Université de Neuchâtel
Author: Patrick Morency
Institution: Université de Neuchâtel
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Semantics
Subject Language: French
Abstract: In this paper, we review the various types of epistemic usages of the (simple and anterior) future tenses in French with the assumption that what actually licenses their occurrence is not a semantic feature such as aspect but pragmatic effects that give relevance to the utterance at the moment of speech. We review the main hypotheses proposed in the relevant literature and conclude that epistemic futures seem to fulfill the function of communicating – through a metarepresentation of a future verification – not only epistemic modality and evidentiality, but also, and perhaps especially, the inference that a particular course of action has to be undertaken from the perspective of a state of affairs that is true in the present.

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This article appears IN Journal of French Language Studies Vol. 22, Issue 2.

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