Italian 'non vedo/non si vede' + indirect wh-interrogative clause (‘I don't see why/what/how...’) as a marker of disagreement
The paper studies the functions of negated indicative present forms of the verb vedere ‘to see’ that refer to the speaker and are followed by an indirect wh-interrogative subordinate clause. The investigation of an Italian written corpus of newspaper articles, reviews and forum posts shows that this construction set forms a discourse routine with a recurrent pragmatic function. It expresses a disagreeing action of rebuttal that includes the reformulation and critical assessment of an interlocutor’s preceding utterance and projects arguments sustaining the speaker’s standpoint. The routine is highly specialized: its functions are limited to those mentioned, whereas it does not express bare denial, counterarguments, or agreeing actions. The corpus analysis also shows that this specialization is a characteristic of the combination of the examined negated verb forms with indirect wh-interrogative clauses, whereas combinations with other complement types either do not occur at all in the corpus (indirect polar questions and complement clauses introduced by che) or have a broader range of diverse discourse functions (nominal complements with propositional meaning). The routine’s lexical and grammatical components (inferential lexical meaning, deixis, negation and its scope, the presupposing properties of indirect wh-interrogatives, mood) all contribute to realize its discourse function.
Journal of Pragmatics
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