The main purpose of this paper is to characterize utterance causal clauses within a theoretical framework that assumes different domains of discourse meaning - content, epistemic and speech-act domain. The assumption is that a semantic analysis may provide some explanation for the syntactic behaviour of the construction under scrutiny. It is argued in this paper that utterance causal clauses illustrate the discourse relation of Justification, which involves the connection between two illocutionary acts, with different hierarchical status. It is also argued, contrary to Sweetser's 1999 account, that utterance causal clauses combined with assertions give rise to an elementary argumentative text, where the epistemic and the illocutionary domain are closely intertwined. The paper also contemplates the connection between utterance causal clauses and other classes of speech acts, namely directive, compromissive and expressive ones.
Utterance causal clauses; Peripheral subordinate clauses; Speech-act; Discourse relation