Focus, mood and clause linkage in Umpithamu (Cape York Peninsula, Australia)

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Umpithamu is poor in markers that specifically encode clause linkage, but it relies on markers from other domains, specifically mood and information structure. Such markers can contribute to clause linkage in three semiotically distinct ways. The first is compositional encoding, as with the purposive relation that is encoded by the combination of potential mood with a schema of argument sharing. The second is inference: with the conditional relation, potential mood provides a feature of non-actuality, and the causal relation between the propositions is left to inference. The third is encoded inference: with explanatory relations, use of a focus marker invokes a presupposition, which when not found in the context forces the inference of an explanatory relation with the preceding clause.


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