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Mirativity and rhetorical structure: The development and prosody of disjunct and anaphoric adverbials with 'no wonder'

Book Contribution - Chapter

This paper studies from a synchronic-diachronic perspective the formal and semantic-discursive properties of the adverbial expressions "no wonder". They are associated with a general discourse schema expressing both speaker attitude and discourse organization: the speaker assesses a proposition as ‘non-surprising’ by assigning no wonder to it as a mirative qualifier, and motivates this evaluation by an explicit justification. The overall rhetorical structure can be viewed as the opposite of concession, which denies expectation: "no wonder" emphasizes the expected relation between justification and proposition. In Present-day English, there are two types of adverbial use: disjunct "no wonder", which typically precedes the proposition, with the justification either preceding or following the proposition, and anaphoric "no wonder", which follows the proposition, and which is typically followed by the jusitification. We argue that historically these two adverbial subtypes are related to different multi-clausal constructions: extraposition and paratactic clause combining. We also show that in present-day spoken data the anaphoric mirative qualifier is prosodically more independent, while in the other patterns the mirative qualifier tends to be prosodically integrated with the proposition.
Book: Outside the Clause
Pages: 125 - 156
ISBN:978 90 272 5943 1