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Magari

Abstract : We propose a constructionist approach to the polyfunctionality of the Italian focus particle magari (roughly corresponding to 'maybe', but also 'I wish'). The sheer syntactic versatility of this word leads us to detect its formal regularities at the level of discourse configurations. This level of analysis, identified within the French linguistic tradition, is defined by the maintenance of a predicate-argument-adjunct structure in discourse. The salient feature of discourse configurations is their shape, which can be described by referring to a number of topological patterns: lists of elements in the same syntactic position, repetition of syntactic structures, shifting of elements from a post-verbal to a pre-verbal position and so on. These topological patterns are meaningful to an extent and they are eligible to be regarded as constructions. Magari is shown to be regularly associated with a general topological pattern, namely a list of items that occupy the same syntactic position as the item focused by magari. Each semantic function of magari correlates with one particular kind of list. These associations of a form (the different types of lists) and a meaning (the functions of magari) are shown to be related to one another by means of inheritance links.
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Contributor : Paola Pietrandrea <>
Submitted on : Saturday, January 28, 2012 - 5:07:31 PM
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Francesca Masini, Paola Pietrandrea. Magari. Cognitive Linguistics, De Gruyter, 2010, 21 (1), pp.75-121. ⟨hal-00664070⟩

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