Initiating a discourse unit in spoken French
This chapter presents an empirical study of the left periphery of Basic Discourse Units, viz. the linguistic segments that speakers and hearers use to interpret the discourse they are engaged in. A Basic Discourse Unit is bound by the mapping of a syntactic (dependency) structure and a major intonation unit, giving rise to different types of discourse units (congruent, syntax-bound, intonation-bound, regulatory). Focusing on the discourse units’ Left Peripheral Elements, which are again defined in syntactic and prosodic terms, we show that they fulfil different discourse structuring roles.