Anne Bezuidenhout: Appositives from the Perspective of Relevance Theory


We explore the discourse status of appositives (both nominal appositives and appositive relative clauses) and the potential for the contents of such constructions to become conversationally foregrounded. We present the findings of a series of experiments that used various tests for the at-issueness of a proposition. These experiments varied the properties of these appositive constructions (such as their sentence-position and/or their aspectual properties and/or their contribution to an ongoing narrative) and tested participants’ judgements about the at-issue status of their contents. We suggest that Relevance Theory offers a framework that can explain how and why the contents of appositives can under certain circumstances become discourse prominent.