Variation at the Syntax–Pragmatics Interface: Discourse Particles in Questions

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/346416

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Cruschina, S.; Bianchi, V. Variation at the Syntax–Pragmatics Interface: Discourse Particles in Questions. Languages 2022, 7, 183.

Title: Variation at the Syntax–Pragmatics Interface: Discourse Particles in Questions
Author: Cruschina, Silvio; Bianchi, Valentina
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Date: 2022-07-15
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/346416
Abstract: This paper focuses on the microvariation concerning the distribution and functions of certain interrogative discourse particles found in several central and southern Italian dialects. These particles show many similarities in terms of both their morphological shapes (being homophonous to the wh-phrase corresponding to English ‘what’) and their syntactic distribution within the sentence, in that they all occur at the beginning of polar questions. However, a careful analysis of their distribution across a pragmatically defined typology of canonical and non-canonical polar questions shows that these particles are not possible in all question types. In particular, two patterns emerge: in Pattern B, the particle is associated with a conventional implicature that both the speaker and the addressee are competent with respect to the issue addressed by the polar question, while in Pattern A, this implicature is restricted to the addressee competence. This point of microvariation is then analysed by assuming that both the pragmatic assumptions of competence and the discourse participants are encoded in the syntactic representation; the cartographic framework is adopted to characterize the compositional structure.


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