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Auteur: Marina KULINICH

Co-Auteur(s): Kostrova Olga, Samara State academy of social sciences and humanities, Russian Federation

Semantic and pragmatic meaning of causality in German and English

Abstract/Résumé: The paper attempts to model the subcategory of semantic selection in a compound sentence or sentence sequence with the meaning of causation. Consequently, this subcategory is transferred from the morphologic level (cf. verbal government, nominal government) to the syntactic one. One should speak of co-occurrence rather than government. Here, we are dealing with regularities of employing causative conjunctions and subordinate clauses of reason, also with sentences implying causality. Research done on German and English data reveals semantic and pragmatic character of these regularities. Argumentative cause/effect sequences, i.e. a subordinate clause of reason, a sequence of independent sentences or a clause of another meaning implying reason, take place in the following cases. 1. If the sequence contains an explicit or implicit negation: Du verlässt mich, weil du mich nicht mehr brauchst. 2006, when she could no longer work because she was sick, she lost both her job and her benefits. 2. If the sequence contains other means of denoting quality, a completed purposeful action or intention: Ich war nur leise, weil Julia schläft. That title seemed clever to me back then but sly because the paper was about types of small American businesses. 3. In a dialogue or in argumentation following general or direct question about the cause of an action: Warum hast du dann nichts davon gesagt?– Weil das nun mal die Spielregeln waren. Does that make me safer? The answer is no, for the reason that experts at skiing and other risky endeavors take bigger chances. 4. After determining emotional state, the reason is implied in an object or attributive clause: Du bist müde vom langen Tag und froh, dass du sitzen kannst. We now have peace in our hearts, even because the Pope found time to meet us. 5. After a verbal predicate in the imperative or after an expression of necessity: Pass mal ganz genau auf, weil das gar nicht leicht ist. Everyone needs to learn Standard English. That is why in school we are taught to read and write it. In the English cause-effect relation is more likely to precede the effect. As for German, the cause more often than not follows the effect. But it is possible to precede the effect too. To conclude, the sentences generating cause/effect after-text possess certain communicative and pragmatic aim at motivation which is manifested in the above-mentioned means. Their co-occurrence with motivating utterances is regular. This co-occurrence differs in German and English as to the sequence of cause and effect.