Vol. 20:1 (1996) ► pp.117–143
Donc et les Consécutifs. Des Systèmes de Contraintes Différentiels
In this paper, we investigate some syntactic and semantic properties of a subclass of consecution discourse markers, or "connectives", in French. Consecution connectives express causal, implicative, or deductive relations between propositional entities. Typical instances of the class in English are therefore, so, then. We study the specific properties of donc (resembling therefore) in contrast with de ce fait, du coup, and alors (which can be rendered by so or then in many cases). We first describe the surface position constraints for these connectives, and relate the observations to the general problem of adverb position. Next, we appeal to a basic distinction between illocutionary force, propositional attitude, and propositional content to explain some observed semantic scope differences among the four items. Focussing on donc, we turn to the problem of the (in)compatibility of these connectives with if-sentences, illustrated by the following contrast. (A) S'il fait beau, alors j'irai me promener If the weather is fine, (then) I'll have a walk (B ) ?? S'il fait beau, donc j'irai me promener If the weather is fine, (therefore) I'll have a walk We connect this difference with a variation in connexion "strength", a notion we substantiate in the final section by resorting to a version of generalized quantification. We also consider the influence of surfacc position on acceptability for examples of type (B), and we propose that this should be related to a difference in syntactic scope, which shows in explicative c 'est que structures as well.
Cited by 6 other publications
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