Reports of the project Languages in Contrast (Språk i kontrast) No. 8, June PDF

SPRIKreports Reports of the project Languages in Contrast (Språk i kontrast) No. 8, June 2001 GERMAN Original ENGLISH Translation NORWEGIAN Translation NORWEGIAN Original

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SPRIKreports Reports of the project Languages in Contrast (Språk i kontrast) No. 8, June 2001 GERMAN Original ENGLISH Translation NORWEGIAN Translation NORWEGIAN Original ENGLISH Original GERMAN Translation PROCEEDINGS OF THE SYMPOSIUM Information structure in a cross-linguistic perspective , held at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, November 30 - December 2, 2000 Interpreting concessive adverbial markers in English and Norwegian discourse Thorstein Fretheim, Norwegian University of Science and Technology ,QWHUSUHWLQJ FRQFHVVLYH DGYHUELDO PDUNHUV LQ (QJOLVK DQG 1RUZHJLDQGLVFRXUVH 7KRUVWHLQ)UHWKHLP Norwegian University of Science and Technology,QWURGXFWLRQ The term marker in the title indicates that my concern is with non-truth-conditional function words rather than with members of open lexical categories; adverbial says something about their syntactic privileges; concessive means that their contextual relation to the proposition expressed by the sentence that they modify equals that of the relation between an English main clause and an adjoined concessive or concessive conditional clause, typically starting with DOWKRXJK and HYHQ LI, respectively: given the truth of the embedded clause proposition P one might not expect the main clause proposition Q to be true (for extensive discussions of concessive relations and concessive conditional relations, see e.g. Haspelmath and König 1998; König 1988, 1989; Iten 1998, 2000). The term connective would also have been appropriate, because it emphasises the fact that my concessive markers are supposed to connect with some aspect of the context of the utterance, whether it is an entity activated in the preceding discourse or one recoverable through an inferential search outside the local discourse but within the speech participants shared context. In a recent paper (Fretheim 2001) I called them concessive anaphora, because just like personal pronouns, or the temporal or conditional pro-form WKHQ, they must be enriched by association with the conceptual meaning of an antecedent. The markers that I am referring to are English concessive adverbials like QHYHUWKHOHVV, HYHQ VR, DOO WKH VDPH, VWLOO, \HW, DQ\ZD\, and DIWHU DOO, and the Norwegian concessive adverbials OLNHYHO (or the virtually synonymous DOOLNHYHO) and IRUGHW (literally: for that). This paper falls into two main parts. In the first part it will be shown that OLNHYHO can perform all the clearly concessive functions of all of the English markers listed here. 1 I am going to focus especially on the difference between English DIWHUDOO and the rest of the English concessives on the one hand and the ways in which OLNHYHO can come to mean either after all or nevertheless on the other hand. Echoing Fretheim (forthcoming a) I assume a linguistic underdetermination of the meaning assigned to tokens of OLNHYHO in utterances produced in communicative events, and I assume that the gap between encoded lexical meaning and utterance meaning is bridged by context-driven inference. For my purpose I am going to adopt the relevance-theoretic account of the division of labour between semantic coding and pragmatic inference (Sperber and Wilson 1986, 1995), and between conceptual semantics and procedural semantics (Blakemore 1987; Wilson and Sperber 1993). It will be argued that concessive markers encode a specific procedure for the addressee to follow in order to efficiently derive an interpretation of the utterance in line with the communicator s informative intention, an interpretation which according to Sperber and Wilson (1995) is heavily constrained by the propensity of humans to presume that an ostensive stimulus is relevant enough (i.e. has enough positive cognitive effects) for it to be worth the addressee s effort to process it. 1 $Q\ZD\ in addition has certain uses which can only be labelled concessive if we stretch the concept beyond established linguistic usage, and OLNHYHO is not a suitable Norwegian gloss for those uses of DQ\ZD\. Similarly, DIWHUDOO can modify either the premise or the conclusion in a non-demonstrative deduction, and OLNHYHO is not normally used for the former function (cf. Fretheim forthcoming a). Norwegian may be said to compensate for its sparsity of concessive markers, compared to their large number in English, by letting the syntactic position of OLNHYHOin the sentence and the accentual pattern and intonational phrasing imposed on the utterance do the job of indicating how the concessive marker is to be linked to its antecedent structure. English instead allows its speakers to make a choice between different lexical entries which provide analogous procedural information about how to identify the intended antecedent of a given concessive anaphor. In the second part of the paper I address the special challenges that the second of my two Norwegian concessive markers, IRUGHW, present to the investigator. It will be proposed that IRU GHW probably differs from all English concessives anaphor-like connectives as well as clauses in its ability to be included within the scope of a negation operator. My observations contradict what has generally been held to be true of the nature of concessives relative to scope of negation (cf. the positions taken by both König 1989, and Iten 1998). 2 &RQVWLWXHQWRUGHUDQGSURVRG\LQ1RUZHJLDQ±PDLQO\OH[LFDOFKRLFHLQ(QJOLVK /RFDO DQG GLVWDQW FRQFHVVLYHUHODWLRQV English HYHQ VR and QHYHUWKHOHVVQRQHWKHOHVV are concessive markers which instruct the addressee to link them to an antecedent proposition expressed in the immediately preceding discourse. That VR in HYHQVR serves an anaphoric role is hardly a controversial claim, as this lexical entry is composed of the scalar particle HYHQ, which takes care of the concession, and a pro-form VR, which narrows the reference down to a strongly activated higher-order entity referring to some state of affairs. But if HYHQVR is an anaphor, then QHYHUWKHOHVV is one as well, despite its less transparent morphological composition; its pragmatic function is very similar to that of HYHQVR. $IWHUDOO, i.e. the focal DIWHUDOO that can be translated into Norwegian as OLNHYHO, is a concessive marker which instructs the hearer not to direct his attention primarily toward possible candidate antecedents in the local discourse but to search for the intended antecedent outside the current conversation, for example among propositions stored in the hearer s longterm memory. In order for there to be a concessive relation between two propositions P and Q, the context-building concession associated with P cannot logically contradict the main clause proposition Q; rather, the contrast between P and Q rests upon some sort of pragmatic incompatibility, on the speaker s metarepresentation 3 of someone s (e.g. the interlocutor s) belief that Q is not expected to be true in a context where the truth of P is presupposed or stipulated. An utterance-final accented DIWHUDOO tells us to process the proposition expressed by the utterance as a conclusion based on some newly acquired information which the speaker judges to undermine her former belief that Q could not be true. (1)-(5) are all formed as sequences of two utterances, where the first one is invariant and the following one changes slightly from one version to the next, in the linear order of elements and in the number and distribution of focal accents (marked by small caps). (1) Bilen koster Likevel kan vi kjøpe den. The car costs 220,000. Even so we can buy it. (2) Bilen koster Vi kan LIKEVEL KJØPE den. The car costs 220,000. We can still buy it. (3) Bilen koster Vi kan LIKEVEL kjøpe den. a. The car costs 220,000. We can buy it after all. 2 The final form of this paper owes much to my contacts with Nana Aba A. Amfo and Stig Johansson. 3 Metarepresentation is the use of a representation to represent another representation, through a relation of resemblance between the two. b. The car costs 220,000. We can still buy it. (4) Bilen koster Vi kan kjøpe den LIKEVEL. a. The car costs 220,000. We can buy it after ALL. b. The car costs 220,000. We can buy it nevertheless. (marginal) (5) Bilen koster Vi kan KJØPE den LIKEVEL. The car costs 220,000. We can buy it nevertheless. /LNHYHO is a lexical entry which has one non-anaphoric concession component and one anaphoric higher-order entity component. The data in (1)-(5) tell us something about the intended anaphoric anchoring of the marker. An initial OLNHYHO, as in (1), is a failsafe indicator that the two consecutive utterances are to be processed as concessively related. It differs from (1 ) where there is an optional resumptive OLNHYHO (= nevertheless ) in the main clause only in that the information about the price tag on the car is asserted rather than just metarepresented in a conditional clause marked as concessive (and therefore not truthconditional). (1 ) Selv om bilen koster , kan vi (likevel) kjøpe den. Even if the car costs 220,000, we can (nevertheless) buy it. (2) is likely to be comprehended exactly like (1), not because a post-finite (middle field) OLNHYHO cues the same inferential processing as an initial OLNHYHO but because both the concessive adverbial and the infinitive NM SH ( buy ) are made prosodically prominent by a phrase-accent, a fundamental frequency (F 0 ) peak marking the right edge of an Intonational Phrase (IP). An IP is the immediate constituent of the Intonation Unit (IU) in the intonational hierarchy, and when there are two of them within an IU in Norwegian speech, the hearer is being advised to identify one as that part of the utterance where its new information is expressed and the other one as that part which contains information presented as activated for speaker and hearer alike. Which one of the two IPs contains new information and which one given information is determined not by grammatical rule but by pragmatic inference (Fretheim 1987, forthcoming b). Utterance number two expresses the same proposition in all sequences (1)-(5), and the concessive OLNHYHO does not affect its truth conditions. - 3(GHQ ( buy it ) consists of an infinitive form with word-accent followed by an enclitic personal pronoun; the pitch peak for focal phrase-accent is aligned with the enclitic pronoun but lends special accentual prominence to the preceding accented infinitive. The focal phrase-accent is there to indicate that the infinitival complement contains non-recoverable information, it constitutes the information focus of the utterance. The preceding concessive also has a focal phrase-accent, aligned not with the word-accented first syllable of OLNHYHO but with its final unstressed syllable. That accent gives the same degree of prosodic prominence to OLNHYHO as the next phrase-accent in the utterance gives to - 3(GHQ; however, as one of the two IPs is supposed to be processed as activated, the hearer can do no better than to establish mentally an antecedent-anaphor relation between the proposition The car referred to costs NOK 220,000 and OLNHYHO. (5) is likely to be processed in the same way as (2). There the infinitival complement - 3(GHQ ( buy it ) precedes OLNHYHO but as long as the distribution of focal phrase-accents is the same as in (2), the difference in linear order will not affect the hearer s pragmatic processing of the utterance; in other words, the information structure is the same in (2) and (5). The hearer will understand that the proposition of the preceding utterance is what he is being told to process as a concessive adjunct to the main clause. In English the assumption that there is a local discourse link between the anaphor and its antecedent can be conveyed by a variety of lexically different markers, such as HYHQVR in (1), VWLOO in (2), QHYHUWKHOHVV in (5). 4 The second sentence in (3) has a proso-syntactic form which makes it less determinate than (1), (2) or (5) from the point of view of information structure. The linear order of syntactic elements is that of (2) but the focal phrase-accent on the infinitival complement is eliminated. On prosodic grounds, then, OLNHYHO in (3) could be interpreted as a narrow information focus on the concessive; the syntactic position of OLNHYHO in (3) is medial, however, which permits the hearer to link OLNHYHO locally, as in (1), (2) and (5). Thus one can process OLNHYHO in (3) either as an anaphor whose antecedent is the proposition of the preceding declarative or as a (less prototypical) anaphor whose antecedent is outside (3). In the former case there is an inferred concessive relation between the propositions of the two consecutive utterances and the hearer is likely to deduce the implicature that someone presumably the speaker expected, or hoped that the car would be less expensive. In the latter case there is rather an inferred causal relation between the same propositions and a concessive relation between two higher-level explicatures (see Wilson and Sperber 1993) I believe that we can buy the car uttered at time W, and I believe that we cannot buy the car uttered, or possibly just entertained as a thought, at a time prior to W. The information that the price is 220,000 is then used as a premise in a deduction which causes the speaker to give up the former assumption that buying that car was an unattainable goal. If this is what the speaker intended to communicate by uttering (3), then the utterance gives rise to the opposite kind of implicature, namely that the car is less expensive than the speaker had expected or believed. Due to the linguistic underdetermination of the intended link between OLNHYHO and the mutually manifest context, the question whether OLNHYHO means nevertheless or after all in (3) can be resolved only if certain contextual premises are taken into consideration, premises which cannot be deduced directly from whatever cues come from the verbal stimulus itself. Finally, with reference to the set (1)-(5), an utterance of (4) is very likely to be processed as meaning The car costs 220,000, so we can buy it after all. The competing interpretation The car costs 220,000, but we can still buy it would presumably be selected only if there happens to be extraordinarily strong extralinguistic support for it. The focalphrase accent in the second utterance in (4) is on the infinitival complement and there is no such phrase-accent, just a word-accent, on the preceding concessive marker. As it is sentencefinal, the phrase-accent will be understood to indicate that the focus of information is broad. The focus is on the entire linguistic structure, which here implies that the new information is the positive proposition formerly believed to be false, or rather the speaker s attitude to it, the higher-level explicature I (now) believe that we can buy the car referred to. /LNHYHO±DIWHUDOODQGWKHQRWLRQRIIRFXV What exactly does it mean to say that a non-truth-conditional function word like OLNHYHO is the focus of information in a given utterance of the second sentence in (4) (which is repeated here for convenience)? (4) Bilen koster Vi kan kjøpe den LIKEVEL. a. The car costs 220,000. We can buy it after ALL. b. The car costs 220,000. We can buy it nevertheless. (marginal) After all (NB! the non-focal use of DIWHUDOO which cannot be glossed as OLNHYHO), the speaker presents her information that they can buy the car as a non-recoverable thought, and how, 4 It is possible in Norwegian to say something like 9LNDQIUHPGHOHVNM SHELOHQ ( We can still buy the car ) where temporal IUHPGHOHV ( still ) is intended to be taken concessively rather than strictly temporally, but I think it is fair to say that Norwegian has not developed the kind of polysemy that characterises the English adverb VWLOO. then, can the utterance-final conceptually underspecified concessive marker be associated with the focus? As Jeanette Gundel says in a recent paper (Gundel 1999), there are at least three different notions of focus that have occupied the minds of linguists, namely psychological focus, semantic focus and contrastive focus. Let us take a look at each one of them. An entity is in (psychological) focus if the attention of both speech participants can be assumed to be focused on it because of its salience at a given point in the discourse (Gundel 1999: 294). This is what has come to be known to many as the cognitive status in focus, due to the terminology introduced in some other important work by Gundel and her associates (Gundel, Hedberg and Zacharski 1993). An entity that is in psychological focus can be referred to by linguistic expressions like anaphoric pronouns (sometimes even zero pronouns), which have little conceptual content. An entity in focus is necessarily in the current awareness of the speaker and the hearer at the time of utterance. This description can be said to fit the object pronoun referring to the car which is at the center of attention in (4), and, trivially, the plural subject pronoun which includes reference to the speaker; it does not apply to the focally accented item OLNHYHO, whose pragmatic purpose is to activate the fact that the speaker formerly believed, and had presumably also announced, that it would not be possible to buy the car. Gundel s semantic focus is to do with what is presented as new information. In the second utterance in (4) the new information is clearly the speaker s asserted opinion that they can afford to buy the car. That this in fact implies that she has changed her opinion is not really presented as new information, because that assumption follows as an entailment once you are being told that it is possible to buy the car and have been made to UHDFWLYDWH the stored assumption that the speaker used to believe the opposite. Both Gundel s psychological focus and her semantic focus are important notions for anyone interested in the relations between the language code and cognitive processes in utterance comprehension, but in order to understand what is going on in (4) we should turn to her third kind of focus contrastive focus. In (4), and even in (3) for that matter, there is a highlighting of the marker OLNHYHO due to the fact, noted above, that the speaker intends to make the hearer re-activate a certain assumption, namely the assumption that the speaker formerly believed something which is inconsistent with the information supplied in the preceding declarative. Due to that information the speaker now draws the conclusion that they can indeed buy the car, which conflicts with her attitude before she received the information about the price. We can infer that this is not the first time the hearer has been engaged in a discussion with the speaker whether or not it might be possible to buy that particular car. For the speaker there has been no conclusive evidence for a final judgment until she was informed of the price, which is evidently less than what she had believed or feared. The relevance of the utterance-final and focally accented OLNHYHO in (4) is that it draws the hearer s attention to two things, (i) the concessive relation between the speaker s current conviction and her former belief, and (ii) what she perceives as a cause-consequence relation between the information presented in the first utterance and her conclusion in the next. It is important for the speaker to bring her former propositional attitude into the current awareness of the hearer, because it is a crucial part of the context that the hearer must base his processing of the speaker s second utterance on. Gundel s term psychological focus is reserved for entities that the hearer s attention is already centered on. She does not use it with reference to entities that the speaker wishes the hearer to bring into his focus of attention. The purpose of what she calls contrastive focus on the other hand is to bring some entity, including possibly higher-order entities like propositions, into the hearer s focus of attention, to make it a psychological focus. Although her paper
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