An interactional account of discourse-connective que-constructions in Spanish
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Text & talk: an interdisciplinary journal of language, discourse & communication studies. - Berlin
, p. 505-529
University of Antwerp
This paper offers an interactional analysis of discourse-connective que-constructions in Spanish. In particular, we discuss how these constructions operate at discourse level and we analyze the kind of interactional activities conversation participants are engaged in while using them. In previous studies, initial que has been described along the following lines: as an expletive element, as a marker of background information, as a modal particle, as signaling the presence of the speaker, and as part of a quotative construction. Nevertheless, analyses of free-standing que-constructions are usually based on subjective data from introspection and tend to focus only on the clause introduced by que, regardless of its discourse context. Our hypothesis is that the meaning of discourse-connective que-constructions is primarily indexical: they refer to a relevant piece of contextual information that can be retrieved from a previous utterance or turn, a previous discourse situation, a proposition being observed or one that is inferable from the speech situation. This paper helps define the discourse contexts where que-constructions are used more precisely, while also providing a description of the situated meanings que-constructions express in particular types of context.