Expressives in Argumentation: The Case of Apprehensive Straks (‘Shortly’) in Dutch

  • Ronny BoogaartEmail author
Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 35)


This chapter analyzes the use of expressive utterances in argumentative discourse as a strategic maneuver within the Pragma-Dialectical theory of argumentation. It focuses on an expressive linguistic pattern from Dutch, consisting of a temporal adverb indicating “immediate future” in clause-initial position, usually straks (‘shortly’), and specific prosodic properties, It is shown that the pattern constitutes a construction in the sense of Construction Grammar since its formal properties systematically correspond with a specific reading of “apprehension”, in which the temporal meaning of the adverb may be backgrounded. As such, the construction is naturally used in argumentative discourse for negative pragmatic argumentation, but also for (a subtype of) Reductio ad Absurdum. Use of expressive constructions in argumentation may be strategic since they suggest to be a direct reflection of what the speaker feels and they may be analyzed as flouting rather than violating the rules for critical discussion, thus as instances of overt unreasonableness. This makes such argumentative moves hard to criticize by the antagonist.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden University Centre for LinguisticsLeidenThe Netherlands

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