Edited by Matthias Klumm, Anita Fetzer and Evelien Keizer
[Functions of Language 30:1] 2023
► pp. 110–135
This contribution aims to set out the effects of discourse marking on processing. On the basis of examples from Spanish, we try to show the principles governing the interplay between the procedural meaning of discourse markers (connectives) and the conceptual meaning of the discourse segments linked by them. To determine these principles, two types of experiments were performed: one comparing marked and unmarked utterances, and a second one comparing utterances that activate mental representations that pragmatically match or clash with the instruction encoded by the connective. Evidence shows that (a) discourse marking by means of a connective generates a new route for accessing information; (b) procedural meaning is a definitory feature of connectives; (c) the procedural meaning of connectives introduces asymmetry and rigidity into discourse as to conceptual meanings; (d) in mismatches between the assumption activated by the instructions of a connective and mind-stored assumptions, accommodation processes may take place, which are effortful but seek to guarantee the retrieval of cognitive effects from the utterance.