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But and its Arabic Counterparts: A Relevance Theoretic Account

Khir Eldeen, Unaisa (2018) But and its Arabic Counterparts: A Relevance Theoretic Account. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates, within the framework of Relevance Theory (RT), the semantics and pragmatics of the discourse connective but in English and its counterparts in Modern Standard Arabic, namely lākinna , lākin, and bal. The study focuses mainly on Blakemore’s (2002) relevance-theoretic account of but in which she argues that but encodes a procedural meaning that guides the hearer to interpret what follows as contradicting and eliminating an assumption. She claims that but encodes a unified meaning that accounts for its different uses of contrast, correction, denial of expectation and utterance-and discourse-initial use. In this study, however, I highlight a number of gaps in Blakemore’s analysis of but and argue that, although a unified account of but is desirable, it cannot be maintained. Hence, I argue that there are two different buts in English, each associated with a different meaning and a different syntactic distribution. The correction but seems to be available only when preceded by an explicit negation and followed by a constituent smaller than a full clause. On the other hand, a preceding negation is not a prerequisite for the denial but which allow s its conjuncts to be full clauses or constituents smaller than a full clause. I propose that but in English encodes two different procedures. The first procedure which is associated with the denial but constrains the inferential processes that result in the contradiction of a manifest assumption that cannot be relevant as an explicature. The other procedure which is associated with the correction but constrains the inferential processes involved in the interpretation of the second conjunct and the context for its interpretation as a replacement of an explicitly denied assumption . This analysis works for the Arabic counterparts of but as well. I show that both lākin and lākinna are the equivalents of denial but , whereas the equivalent of correction but is bal and lākin when preceded by negation and followed by a phrase.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: but, correction, denial,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Unaisa Khir Eldeen
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2018 10:47
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2018 10:47
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22380

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