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Context, contrast, and the structure of discourse in Turkish

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Abstract

This paper attempts to account for the contrastive discourse connective (tam) tersine (‘on the contrary’) in Turkish discourse. We suggest that this connective evokes a discourse structure which has at least three parts: the material in the prior linguistic context, its refutation, and then rectification in the clause where the connective is hosted. Since negation is obligatory in the discourse context for refutation, we include a discussion of negation and we conclude that the obligatory negative clauses are instances of descriptive negation rather than metalinguistic negation. We show that linguistic and cognitive contexts interact in producing and interpreting the discourse adverbial connective under discussion and the discourse structure in which it is used. It is claimed that (tam) tersine serves to bring closer the cognitive context of the intended audience to that of the writer’s while minimizing any potential discrepancies in the audience’s and the writer’s cognitive context. We argue that this discourse connective and the discourse it evokes are used in the argumentative mode.

References

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