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»Pragmatische Begründungen« im Polnischen

Imke Mendoza

This paper examines the pragmatic functions of four Polish causal connectives: bo, ponieważ, dlatego że and skoro. When acting as pragmatic connectives, they do not express causal relations between facts. Rather, they introduce utterances that explain preceding or sometimes even following discourse. Thus, the connections exist on the pragmatic and not on the semantic level.

An utterance introduced by a pragmatic connective can relate to different aspects of other utterances, such as assumptions, propositional attitude, and illocutionary force. Moreover, it can pertain to certain expressions within an utterance thus explaining its role in ongoing discourse. It therefore enables the addressee to fully understand the discourse. This function can be called metadiscursive function.

The connectives bo, ponieważ and dlatego że relate to assumptions, propositonal attitudes and illocutions of preceding or following utterances. Bo is the most “versatile” among these connectives. More often than not, it is the most appropriate within a given context. However, only bo can successfully signal the metadiscursive function. Ponieważ and dlatego że are, though not completely impossible, far less acceptable.

Skoro differs from bo, ponieważ and skoro in two ways pertaining to the informational structure of utterances. Firstly, when using skoro, the speaker presupposes the truth of the introduced proposition, i.e. its truth value does not come into question. Secondly, skoro always presents the proposition in question as given information, i.e. the speaker assumes the information to be part of the addressee’s consciousness at the time of the utterance. These features are responsible for the constraints concerning the pragmatic use of skoro, the most important of which is the inability to appear in metadiscursive explanations.

Linguistische Beiträge zur Slavistik. X. JungslavistInnen-Treffen Berlin 2001. Hg. Robert Hammel und Ljudmila Geist. München: Sagner 2003 (= Specimina Philologiae Slavicae 139), 174–191.