"Modal" 'that' as determiner and pronoun: the primacy of the cognitive-interactional dimension

Abstract : In this article, I examine the 'modal' or 'empathetic' (Lyons, 1977: 677) use of the distal (or "non-proximal") determiner/pronoun 'that': namely, where the intended referent may have just been evoked in the immediately prior discourse, but where the distal pronoun 'that', not the 'in-focus' 'it' or the 'activated',proximal 'this' is used. The rationale behind the choice of this particular type of indexical seems to be that the speaker is distancing him/herself from the referent, not wishing to ascribe actuality to it in the way that would be the case if either 'it' or 'this' were used instead. Examination of this particular value of that leads to the hypothesis that the principles underlying the choice of 'that' as opposed to 'this' or 'it' generally are not derived 'objectively', as it were, from their situational use in terms of degrees of proximity of a referent or demonstratum to the speaker or hearer, nor primarily in terms of attention focus. They are, rather, social and cognitive, and play an important interactional role in the construction of discourse.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas

Cited literature [28 references]  Display  Hide  Download

https://hal-univ-tlse2.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00952098
Contributor : Francis Cornish <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 11:10:34 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 1:33:02 AM
Long-term archiving on : Monday, May 26, 2014 - 11:45:54 AM

File

_Modal_that_ELL_5_2_01.doc_.pd...
Files produced by the author(s)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-00952098, version 1

Collections

Citation

Francis Cornish. "Modal" 'that' as determiner and pronoun: the primacy of the cognitive-interactional dimension. English Language and Linguistics, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2001, 5 (2), pp.297-315. ⟨hal-00952098⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

309

Files downloads

370