La fonction argumentative des marques de la langue

Argumentation 1 (2):175-199 (1987)
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The present paper reports a set of experimental studies concerning the comprehension of French argumentative operators and connectives.The first part is a presentation of the theoretical framework, the methodological problems and some of the most general results. Experiments were carried out in the perspective of the linguistic theory of argumentation developed by Anscombre and Ducrot. According to this theory, a number of devices in language are mainly defined by their argumentation function, i.e. by the types of discursive sequences and conclusions they involve. Three categories of such devices were examined: (1) operators like “presque” (almost), “à peine” (hardly), “au moins” (at least), etc. which give an argumentative orientation to the statement; (2) co-orientation connectives, like “même” (even), which relate two statements oriented towards the same conclusion; (3) counter-orientation connectives, like the concessive ones (“mais” (but), “quand même” (even so), etc.), which relate two statements oriented towards opposite conclusions. The data shed light on issues such as: What is the nature of the relationship between the informative and argumentative functions of different operators? Is there a hierarchical relation between the argumentative processes of “co-orientation” and “counter-orientation”? What is the role of negation in the processing of argumentative sequences?The second part of the paper focuses specifically on the study of how 8 and 10 year-old children process “counter-oriented” statements. Five concessive connectives were studied: “mais”, “pourtant”, “quand même”, “même si”, “bien que”. The test was composed of two successive completion tasks: in one task the children had to choose the relevant context of complex sentences involving concessive connectives; in the other task they had to choose their relevant conclusion. Main results show a clear evolution in the performance of children between 8 and 10, suggesting that concessive strategies are not completely mastered at the age of 8. Differences among the concessive connectives studied were brought out: the item “quand même” obtained much better results than the other items with 8-year-old subjects; statements with “mais” seemed to be better processed in the conclusion task than in the context task, especially by 10-year-old subjects. These results are compared with other data obtained in some of the numerous studies on the production and comprehension of concessive connectives in various languages, and discussed from the point of view of argumentative theory



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References found in this work

L'argumentation dans la langue.Jean-Claude Anscombre & Oswald Ducrot - 1984 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 174 (1):111-112.
An analysis of even in English.Bruce Fraser - 1971 - In Charles J. Fillmore & D. Terence Langendoen (eds.), Studies in linguistic semantics. New York, N.Y.: Irvington. pp. 151--178.
Grammaire traditionnelle et grammaire argumentative de la concession.Jean-Claude Anscombre - 1985 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 39 (4):333-349.

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