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The Emergence of Functions in Language$
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Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Marielle Butters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844297.001.0001

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Forced interpretation

Forced interpretation

The emergence of the comment clause

(p.57) 3 Forced interpretation
The Emergence of Functions in Language

Zygmunt Frajzyngier

Marielle Butters

Oxford University Press

The main aim of Chapter 3 is to describe forced interpretation as a motivation for the emergence of functions. A language may encode in its grammatical structure formal means to ensure that the listener infer the meaning desired by the speaker and only the meaning desired by the speaker. The importance of this motivation for the emergence of functions is that most likely it is present in many functional domains. The second aim of the Chapter is to demonstrate that as a result of the postulated motivation, an identical function can emerge independently in the grammatical systems of related and unrelated languages. Moreover, languages can independently come to use the same type of formal means to code identical functions. The Chapter demonstrates that several languages have encoded in their grammatical systems a ‘comment clause’ that forces the listener to interpret the clause with a preceding clause or with some situation. Unrelated languages, independently, came to use similar means to code the comment clause.

Keywords:   forced interpretation, comment clause, remote demonstrative, de dicto, relations between clauses

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