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Sentence-peripheral Coordinative Reduplication in German: A pragmatic view

From the book Exact Repetition in Grammar and Discourse

  • Rita Finkbeiner


In many languages, there are instantiations of non-adjacent syntactic reduplication, sometimes referred to as “syndetic reduplication” (Stolz 2009). Such patterns have been accounted for in constructionist approaches as constructional schemata with a certain semantic meaning that is directly mapped onto form (Jackendoff 2008; Zwarts 2013). However, constructionist approaches often have little to say about the role of pragmatics in the meaning constitution of utterances containing reduplicative constructions. While more recent approaches to “Construction Discourse” (Ostman 2005, 2015) aim to integrate conventional aspects of discourse into constructional schemata, they fail to account for context-variable aspects of meaning that can be regularly inferred by hearers on the basis of general pragmatic principles. In this paper, I investigate the case of Sentence-peripheral Coordinative Reduplication (SpCR), a category not described earlier, arguing that a comprehensive account of SpCR must take into account not only the conventional syntactic, semantic and discoursal properties, but also the more general pragmatic principles that are at work in the meaning constitution of such patterns. More generally, I argue that our theory of reduplication must incorporate a systematic interface with pragmatics.

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