Information Structure, Discourse Structure and Grammatical Structure
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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In this paper we investigate the temporal and rhetorical relations in complex sentences with clauses introduced by quando ‘when’ in European Portuguese. We put forward a proposal for a semantic treatment within a theoretical framework which is grounded in Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT; Asher and Lascarides 2003), with some extra stipulations to deal with specificities of complex sentences related to: (i) the directionality of rhetorical and temporal relations; (ii) the fronted or final position of the adverbial clause and its implications for text-structuring rhetorical relations. We show that the directionality of both the temporal and rhetorical relations is from the main situation to the subordinate situation, regardless of the order of the discourse. We argue that each complex sentence with a clause introduced by quando describes situations that are connected by rhetorical relations at two distinct levels: at the level of content and at the level of text-structuring. At the level of content, we resort to SDRT’s list of rhetorical relations. As for the text-structuring relations, we propose two new relations: Frame and Specification. Finally, we compare the complex sentences with their non-complex counterparts to demonstrate that the rhetorical mechanisms used in both types of discourse are not always the same. To sum up, the investigation carried out allows us to conclude that an analysis which takes into account the temporal and rhetorical relations leads to a better semantic and discursive understanding of complex sentences with clauses introduced by quando.


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