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Academic Paper


Title: Contrast, Verum Focus and Anaphora: The Case of et pourtant si/non in French
Author: Joan Busquets
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: French
Abstract: This study examines the anaphoric status of the sequence et pourtant si/non in French. This sequence displays some properties not only of TP-Ellipsis but also of propositional anaphora. Consequently, the antecedent of this sequence can be recovered by means of either type of anaphoric process. I argue that the salient and relevant antecedent is constrained by the presence of a modalized environment. I claim that the discursive marker pourtant is assimilated to a modal operator (Jayez 1988, Martin 1987) expressing discourse contrast between two propositions anchored in two possible worlds that are not contradictory. Polarity Particles (POLPARTS) involved in this sequence are analyzed as emphasizing the truth of a proposition. As such, they are conveying semantic contrast between two polarities, that of a salient and accessible discourse antecedent and that of the missing part after et pourtant si/non. This is how POLPARTS upgrade the Common Ground. I develop a focus-based account for Verum Focus, building on alternatives along the lines of Hardt & Romero (2004). I suggest that the scope of an epistemic operator (Romero & Han 2004) and the conditions of use are relevant in order to reconstruct the adequate antecedent, which is not possible in an analysis based solely on lexical insertion and upgrading the Question Under Discussion (qud) by conditions governing the felicitous use of et pourtant si/non.

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This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 57, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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