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<i>Pourquoi</i> in Spoken French

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Abstract

WH-Interrogatives in spoken French are exceptional due both to the diversity of syntactic forms available to express the same propositional content (Coveney 1996) as well as the parameters that influence their use. The causal interrogative adverb pourquoi &#8216;why&#8217; has a notably deficient paradigm (Korzen 1985), as is seen in its incompatibility with stylistic inversion and in situ structures. In this chapter, all instantiations of pourquoi in a corpus of casual conversations, whether interrogative or not, are first categorized according to discourse function(s) and then mapped to structures. This usage-driven, discourse approach successfully narrows the number of observed forms per function and also further distinguishes them by integrating discourse markers and negation.

References

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