Apprehensive and frustrative uses of before

Chloé Tahar


In this paper, I look at how context-dependent inferences can enrich the meaning of non-factual before (‘avant que’) clauses in French. My proposal is that, in a sentence like ‘before p, q’, the connective may receive two pragmatically enriched readings: (i) an apprehensive reading, when the agent responsible for q has the goal of avoiding p (after Anderbois & Dabkowski (2020)); (ii) a frustrative reading, when it is contrary to the expectations of the agent responsible for q that p. Going further, I address the question of expletive negation in avant que clauses, arguing that expletive negation puts emphasis on the connective’s invited inferences of negative (teleological or doxastic) preference. Finally, I generalize the account to other contexts where expletive negation occurs in French.

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