Vol. 16:1 (2015) ► pp.109–141
Spelling out the obvious
Latin quidem and the expression of presuppositional polarity
In Danckaert (2014), the Latin particle quidem was analysed as a marker of emphatic affirmative polarity. Building on this proposal, this paper elaborates on the pragmatic properties of this element. I argue that quidem is not a neutral but a so-called “presuppositional” polarity marker, which confirms a proposition which (i) is already part of the common ground but (ii) was not overtly spelled out in the (immediately) preceding context. In more formal terms, I propose that quidem gives rise to the conventional implicature that the speaker assumes that the content of his message might already be known to the addressee, or that it conveys information that the latter expects to hear or read. Quidem can be regarded as a “lexical marker of common ground”, in the sense of Fetzer and Fischer (2007).