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The conceptual structure of irreality. A focus on non-exclusion-of-factuality as a conceptual and a linguistic category

Abstract : Irreality and modality often converge in the literature. Nevertheless, there are grounds to keep the two notions separate. The effort of defining irreality in non-modal terms leads to redefine irreality as a supercategory encompassing three close conceptual domains concerned with the non-actualization of a SoA: counterfactuality, non-exclusion of factuality and non-referentiality. This article focuses on the linguistic relevance of non-exclusion of factuality in Italian. It is shown that non-exclusion of factuality is to be regarded as a defining component of the conceptual structure of a number of irrealis situations (hypothetical, concessive conditionals, alternative relations) and that it is semanticized (through intentional mechanisms of explicitly coding, conventional implicature or invited inference) in the way Italian encodes other typically irrealis situations (counterfactual conditionals, optatives, recommendations). The categoriality of non-exclusion-of-factuality in Italian is discussed. Italian has an abstract complex constructional marker dedicated to the expression of non-exclusion of factuality: the construction magari + list, which is instantiated by a number of more specific constructions conveying specific instances of non-exclusion of factuality meaning (equipotential non-exclusion of factuality constructions, scalar non-exclusion of factuality constructions, scalar concessive conditional constructions, recommendation constructions, and, perhaps, optative constructions). The grammatical nature of this constructional marker is not to be excluded, even though, given the state of knowledge, it cannot be explicitly argued.
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Contributor : Paola Pietrandrea <>
Submitted on : Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 4:52:12 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 5:28:07 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 2:21:55 AM

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Paola Pietrandrea. The conceptual structure of irreality. A focus on non-exclusion-of-factuality as a conceptual and a linguistic category. Language Sciences, Elsevier, 2012, 34, pp.184-199. ⟨hal-00664066⟩

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