This paper compares the functions and development of right peripheral (RP) alors, donc and then in French and English. These items developed historically from temporal expressions, they express consequence and can serve, intersubjectively, as an appeal to the addressee to confirm previous assumptions. An analysis of the frequency and positions of alors, donc, so and then in contemporary spoken corpora of standard British English and French shows that, though these terms are similar in consequential function, they have different distributions. From a diachronic perspective, drawing on recent theories which highlight the crucial role of contact with Anglo-French in the history of the English language (e.g., Ingham 2012a,b), this paper adduces evidence from the Manières de langage (1396; see Kristol 1995), which suggests that the final positioning of then in English may have arisen as a sense/pragmatic extension on analogy with French donques.
Beeching, K. (2016). Alors/donc/then at the right periphery: Seeking confirmation of an inference. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 17(2), 208-230. https://doi.org/10.1075/jhp.17.2.03bee