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<i>Avant que</i>- or <i>Avant de</i>-Clauses

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Abstract

The paper aims at challenging the way in which certain constructions are regularly considered to be ‘presupposition triggers’. More precisely, the study focuses on the temporal clauses introduced by <i>avant que </i>or<i> avant de</i> in French (the equivalent of <i>before</i> in English). It explores arguments for the hypothesis that in some cases, <i>avant que</i> or (much more often) <i>avant de</i> may break away from the domain of<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"> </b><i>presupposition</i>, and play the role of temporal succession connectors between two <i>asserted</i> clauses. Such a construction (designated as the ‘assertive construction’) is related to the ‘<i>quand</i> inverse’ (“inverse <i>when</i>”) construction, both requiring a postposed temporal clause. The remarkable property associated with <i>quand</i> inverse – creation of a surprise effect – is lacking in the case of the assertive construction with <i>avant que/de</i>: however, it is put in evidence that the later can also give rise to specific semantic effects.

References

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