Faculty of Social Sciences

L’exemplification et ses marqueurs

  • Date:
  • Location: Ihresalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Landolsi, Houda
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Romanska språk
  • Contact person: Landolsi, Houda
  • Disputation

This thesis deals with exemplification and example markers in contemporary French. Earlier research has focused mainly on the rhetorical aspect and showed less interest in syntax and semantics.

The current study is based on several written corpora; the data are provided by C-ParlEur (Corpus of European Parliament discourse), by a corpus composed of non-academic humanities texts, and by a third one consisting of twenty contemporary French novels.

The first part of the thesis focuses on the identification of the example in written text. Emphasis is given to the study of exemplification as a relation between two segments that are pragmatically linked. The analysis leads us to propose two main categories: the example-sample and the example-model. While the first represents the example as a non-specific and arbitrarily chosen element of the paradigm, the second shows the example as a particular and typical element.

The second and third parts of the study are devoted to a detailed analysis of the characteristics and functions of three markers par exemple, comme and notamment – not only from a semantic and pragmatic viewpoint, but also from a rhetorical perspective. This account includes a thorough description of their functions and of the different constructions in which the markers appear. It also embraces a detailed analysis of the intersection between the example markers and the segment they introduce, as well as between the exemplifying unit and the sentence in its entirety.

Even though par exemple, comme and notamment have several distinctive properties, they also have many common characteristics. Our analyses lead to the result that the segment these markers introduce is an intermediate link in the argumentative chain and thus entails a re-evaluation of the traditional definition, which recognizes only that the example’s role is to provide the mental imagery needed to overcome the difficulty of shaping an object or understanding a concept. The study of example and exemplification as a linguistic phenomenon allows us to refine the rhetorical definition of examples as inductive arguments, to propose a multi-dimensional description that aims to identify the examples’ main textual, topical and argumentative roles, and to reveal exemplification as a complex strategy in the negotiation of meaning.