A new pragmatic theory for focus and emphasis: a textlinguistic analysis of focus, emphasis proper and specificational emphasis in modern standard Arabic
Dhanoon, Mahmood M.
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The primary concern of this thesis is to provide a new pragmatic approach to Focus, Emphasis in general and Specificational Emphasis in particular in Modem Standard Arabic. The approach is based on suggesting (i) two new proposals as to how these phenomena should be textlinguisticaUy viewed, and (ii) a new pragmatic model which is more plausible than any of its rivals in the field. The model, whose characteristic merits would certainly show theoretical straightforwardness, comprehensiveness, and consistency, is based on the spirit of Grice's pragmatic model, Halliday's notions of choice and (in)congruence and the typologies, of constative and receiver of Arabic rhetoric. The cardinal issue taken as a springboard to the present analysis of such phenomena is that one's own knowledge of the veracity or falsity of a certain proposition usually necessitates actualization. The success or failure to actualize such knowledge is bound to transmit either verbal and non-verbal, or non-verbal contextual clues which motivate text producers to respond communicatively. The second cardinal issue pursued throughout the present work is that there is a natural linkage between form and pragmatic interpretation. Most contemporary linguistic studies have more or less failed to provide an adequate and plausible account of unmarked Focus, i. e. Non-emphasis, Emphasis proper and Specificational Emphasis, let alone De-emphasis. Any comparison between the new theory of the present work and its current rivals is likely to reveal how inadequate the latter are.