Edited by Philippe De Brabanter and Patrick Dendale
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 22] 2008
► pp. 221–246
Commitment should be understood as a dynamic and discursive category. This raises some important questions for the theory of grammar: to what extent do languages encode the dynamic and discursive aspects of commitment? At what level of analysis does this encoding take place? Which markers encode these aspects? In order to answer some of these questions two Italian adverbs expressing strong commitment are analyzed: certamente and sicuramente. Their distribution at the level of macro-syntactic discourse configurations is studied and contrasted. It emerges that the two adverbs select different distributional contexts. Certamente occurs in contexts that reveal its nature as a polyphonic trigger; sicuramente occurs in contexts that reveal its nature as a trigger of a paradigm of strictly internal alternative judgments. The encoding of the more discursive and dynamic aspects of commitment takes place, at least in this case, not at the morphological or at the syntactic level, but at the discourse level. Indeed, it is conveyed by the constructional composition of the lexical meaning of the two adverbs with the meaning of the discourse structures with which they are associated.
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