Multifunctionality of ‘after all’: A unitary account

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Abstract

This article attempts to establish a relevance-theoretic account of the multifunctionality of the English discourse connective after all. First, this article proposes a revision of the constraint imposed by after all on the interpretation of the utterance in which it occurs and, second, presents a unitary account of its multifunctions. In the unitary account, the procedural information of the connective instructs the addressee to construct a context in which certain evidence resolves a contradiction between previous assumption and conclusion. Another aim of the article is to demonstrate that the unitary account elucidates the well-known but little investigated puzzle that after all occurs in the context of concession and justification. The proposed unitary account also helps facilitate the argument that both concession and justification share a context of interpretation involving three assumptions: previous assumption, evidence and conclusion. This argument implies that after all imposes a constraint on the selection of the context, and the different context types lead to the multiple uses of after all along with different cognitive effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-112
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume134
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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