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Subjectivity and Prototype Structure in Causal Connective Use across Discourse Contexts

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Chapter Summary

Causal connectives are linguistic markers of causal relations between discourse segments, typically clauses. Across theoretical frameworks, and across languages, analysts strongly agree that different connectives specialize in expressing different types of causal relations. This chapter focuses on the system behind diversity of ways in which language users may mark causal discourse relations. It starts from a linguistic categorization hypothesis. The chapter investigates the role of situational factor of discourse goal as an independent factor co-determining language users' selection of connectives as linguistic markers of subjective and objective causal relations. It explores the discourse context as a new source of evidence for the hypothesis that deviant usage events of causal connectives are actually rhetorically motivated, peripheral members of the same category that their more conventional contexts of use belong to. The chapter analyzes how subjectivity is expressed in causal relations using the causal connectives dus and daarom in Dutch newspaper discourse.

Keywords: causal connectives; discourse context; linguistic categorization hypothesis; subjectivity; theoretical frameworks



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