Chapter in:Building Categories in Interaction: Linguistic resources at work
Edited by Caterina Mauri, Ilaria Fiorentini and Eugenio Goria
[Studies in Language Companion Series 220] 2021
► pp. 374–413
French type-noun constructions based on genre
From the creation of ad hoc categories to ad hoc categorization
Colloquial French genre is highly polysemous with a variety of functions such as comparison, approximation and the fully pragmaticalized functions as a mitigator, a quotative marker, an exemplifier, a marker of narrative progression, explanation and focussing. So far, the focus has been on the various discourse functions, however, several studies also point out possible paths of pragmaticalization. The aim of this paper is to analyse in greater detail the construction at the root of all these functions, i.e. “X of the same type as Y”, a construction originally used for construing ad hoc categories. This rather learned construction became established in the 19th century for French and transformed into a backgrounded instruction for sloppy categorization and the other derived colloquial functions listed above.
Keywords: pragmaticalization, pragmatic marker, ad hoc categories, approximation, mitigation, colloquial French, 19th century