The particle baš in contemporary Serbian

Mirjana Mišković-Luković

Abstract

The paper is a relevance-theoretic account of the meaning of the Serbian particle baš, once a content word, now a pragmatic particle restricted to informal discourse. It is argued that the emphatic and specificatory senses of baš can be subsumed under a single description of the particle as a marker of non-loose use. The argumentation is based on the relevance-theoretic distinction between description and interpretation in language use and on the notion of loose talk. The main issue of how the particle contributes to the relevance of its host-utterance is anchored in a tripartite distinction: Conceptual/procedural, truth-functional/non-truth-functional, explicature/implicature. It is claimed that the particle baš is a procedural, non-truth-functional linguistic item that contributes to relevance by constraining the explicit content of the host-utterance.

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