Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Remarques sur l’usage interprétatif putatif du futur

Morency, Patrick ; de Saussure, Louis

In: Revue Tranel (Travaux neuchâtelois de linguistique), 2006, vol. 45, p. 43-70

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    In this article we will take a look at a particular epistemic usage of the French future tense. Our approach is a radically pragmatic one, where we posit that what should be taken into account for the interpretation of such occurrences depends more upon pragmatic than semantic aspects. Building upon Sperber & Wilson’s distinction between descriptive and non-descriptive usages of language and the notion of metarepresentation (1995 [1986]), we propose to analyze the function of the French futur putatif from our procedural pragmatics perspective. We posit that certain expressions, and among them the French future tense, possess a procedural algorithm that allows the hearer to reach different interpretations, depending on different contextualizations, which are obtained through relevance-searching. Such procedural instructions enable the hearer to easily draw the intended complex inferences.