Reduced parenthetical clauses in Romance languages: A pragmatic typology

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The article derives from a corpus study of <i>reduced parenthetical clauses </i>(RPCs) in contemporary spoken French, Italian, and Spanish (cf. Schneider 2007) and proposes a typology based on pragmatic criteria. The parentheticals are first subdivided into three major groups: phatic, reporting, and mitigating RPCs. Subsequently, drawing on the contributions of Hare (1970) and Caffi (1999, 2001), the group of mitigating RPCs is subdivided in four groups: a) clauses mitigating the phrastic; b) clauses indicating the tropic and mitigating the phrastic or the neustic; c) clauses directly mitigating the neustic; d) clauses indirectly mitigating the neustic. The taxonomy is shown to be corroborated by two independent phenomena: the positional mobility of RPCs and the occurrence of RPCs in interrogative sentences.


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