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A cognitive-pragmatic view of the French epistemic future

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 August 2011

LOUIS DE SAUSSURE*
Affiliation:
Université de Neuchâtel (Institut des Sciences du Langage et de la Communication)
PATRICK MORENCY*
Affiliation:
Université de Neuchâtel (Institut des Sciences du Langage et de la Communication)
*
Addresses for correspondence: Louis de Saussure, Patrick Morency, Institut des Sciences du Langage et de la Communication, Université de Neuchâtel, Espace Louis-Agassiz 1, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland e-mail: louis.desaussure@unine.ch, patrick.morency@unine.ch
Addresses for correspondence: Louis de Saussure, Patrick Morency, Institut des Sciences du Langage et de la Communication, Université de Neuchâtel, Espace Louis-Agassiz 1, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland e-mail: louis.desaussure@unine.ch, patrick.morency@unine.ch

Abstract

In this paper, we review the various types of epistemic usages of the (simple and anterior) future tenses in French with the assumption that what actually licenses their occurrence is not a semantic feature such as aspect but pragmatic effects that give relevance to the utterance at the moment of speech. We review the main hypotheses proposed in the relevant literature and conclude that epistemic futures seem to fulfill the function of communicating – through a metarepresentation of a future verification – not only epistemic modality and evidentiality, but also, and perhaps especially, the inference that a particular course of action has to be undertaken from the perspective of a state of affairs that is true in the present.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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