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A Multidimensional Semantics for Discourse Particles: Evidence from Spanish Neuter Demonstratives *

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Demonstratives are a fertile source of discourse-particle formation in Spanish. These particles, which we will be calling demonstrative discourse operators, combine a demonstrative pronoun plus additional material in lexicalized complex expressions. In this paper, we argue that these demonstrative expressions contribute to discourse coherence and cohesion by establishing specific rhetorical relations such as Contrast or Elaboration between discourse utterances. Building on the discourse deictic and anaphoric nature of demonstratives as well as on their quantificational properties we also present a novel characterization for these demonstrative discourse operators as operators with a tripartite structure. We argue that the expressive content of these units contains two basic components, namely, a particular rhetorical relation and the speaker’s attitude towards the expressed content. Our proposal not only can have implications for general theories of demonstrative expressions and rhetorical structure but also for recent semantic perspectives dealing with how discourse particles structure and possibly articulate meaning into different dimensions.


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Affiliations: 1: Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and The Ohio State University, USA and


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