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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Sabine DIAO-KLAEGER

"même" in Burkina Faso: scalar focus marker and discourse marker. Similarities and differences with its use in spoken Hexagonal French

Abstract/Résumé: As scalar focus marker, "même" expresses scalarity and emphasis. The speaker can use it to stress the element that is the least probable and therefore the most significant, the one with the highest argumentative power, in his or her discourse. The focalization of the attention on the discordant element makes "même" ideally suited to be used for argumentative guidance given to the interlocutor: speakers signal the element they consider to be most important in their argumentation, the one they want to be taken into account by their interlocutors. As "même" is extremely mobile in the utterance - it can be found before or after the element it refers to, or even syntactically remote from it -, it is sometimes difficult to define its scope. "même" at the end of an utterance can either refer to the immediate element it follows (in this case it is a focus marker) or to the whole utterance (in this case it can be considered as a discourse marker). In my data of Burkinabe French, we can also find several "même" in the same utterance. The meaning of "même" becomes thus less concrete, and more abstract - it bleaches semantically, its rhetorical character gaining in importance. That "même" seems to have a special use that differs form the one in Hexagonal French has already been mentioned for several African varieties: by Canut (1998) for Mali, Lafage (1985) for the Ivory Coast, de Féral (1994) and Manessy (1978) for Cameroon, and Prignitz (1996) for Burkina Faso. These authors just mention it in passing, though, without analyzing the phenomenon in detail. In my paper, I will present the use of "même" in spoken French of Burkina Faso. My analysis is based on radio phone-ins (Ouagadougou radio stations) and several episodes of "Les Bobodiouf", a famous Burkinabe soap opera. I will discuss the possible influence of two local contact languages (Mooré and Dioula) and the fact that French is the speakers' L2 or L3 (i.e. a learners' variety) to explain the differences with spoken Hexagonal French.