Modality, presupposition and discourse

In Ruth Lopes, Juanito Ornelas de Avelar & Sonia Cyrino (eds.), Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company (forthcoming)
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This paper provides a semantic analysis of the particles afinal (European Portuguese) and alla fine (Italian) in terms of the notion of truth unpersistence, which can be situated at the intersection of epistemic modality and discourse structure. In the analysis proposed, the particles are propositional operators and require that the truth of a proposition p* fail to persist through a temporal succession of epistemic states, this proposition being incompatible with the prejacent, and that the interlocutors share knowledge of a previous epistemic attitude toward p*. We analyze two main cases (plan-related and non plan-related propositions) and also show that these particles are indexical to one (or more) epistemic agent(s) and allow for shifts in perspective.

Author Profiles

Fabio Del Prete
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


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