Procedural encoding of expressivity: The case of the Tunisian Arabic demonstrative ha-NP

Amel Khalfaoui


Previous accounts of the two Tunisian Arabic proximate demonstratives ha-NP and NP ha:ða identify a use in which both forms introduce an activated entity in the discourse, but do not provide an explanation for the further restrictions guiding the choice of which one of the two forms to use. Based on a study that combines corpus analysis complemented by evidence coming from native speakers’ acceptability judgments, this paper argues that what distinguishes the prenominal ha-NP from the postnominal NP ha:ða is that the former encodes a procedure which constructs a higher-level explicature obtained by embedding the proposition expressed under a propositional attitude. The demonstrative NP ha:ða, on the other hand, is an unmarked demonstrative with a variety of typical demonstrative functions. The paper provides a pragmatic explanation for the choice between the two demonstratives from a relevancetheoretic perspective.


expressive demonstratives, higher-level explicature, procedural meaning, Relevance Theory, proximate demonstratives, discourse analysis, Tunisian Arabic, evaluative language

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