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Sometimes items that are mutually inclusive are nevertheless joined by “ou” instead of “et”.

Reconnu et acclamé par ses pairs et aînés que sont David Bowie, Tom Waits, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder ou Matt Groening ... (source)

In English, I'd expect “and”. True, “or” can complete the construction “such as”, and a translator might even use that here, but syntactically the French seems to function differently from “tels que”.

There is some overlap with this question, and the accepted answer's claim that French uses “ou” by default for inclusivity could be the key, but that answer doesn't seem very popular. Is it correct? Meanwhile, “et” is present in many of the lists where you'd expect it in this question.

Some questions (feel free to avoid responding point by point):

  1. How common is this? Does it suggest a particular style or register?
  2. Is it only used in lists that could mean something like “such as”? If not, where else?
  3. Would “et” sound strange here? For example, would “et” suggest that the list is exhaustive?
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    Using ou here suggests the author is picking people as examples from a longer list. Et would imply the enumeration contains all the possible peers and elders of the person being talked about, as you surmised. – Eau qui dort May 15 '17 at 16:19
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  • How common is this? Does it suggest a particular style or register?

    It is a very common use of “ou” in a list. No particular register, just to express the fact that you can choose between the elements of the list.

  • Is it only used in lists that could mean something like “such as”? If not, where else?

    Not like “such as”, more like “One way or another”, not used to compare but to give another choice.

  • Would “et” sound strange here? For example, would “et” suggest that the list is exhaustive?

    If you used “et” here, you would suggest that every element of the list is part of the same group. Exemples : Clever, cool and big are adjectives. You can pick clever, cool or big to describe something or someone. “Et” would not sound strange, it would change the meaning of the sentence.

  • Thank you for this answer, though I don't think it addresses exactly the same issue I'm raising. In the example sentence and other lists like it, there's no reason to choose between the people; they're all the musician's peers and elders. – Luke Sawczak May 14 '17 at 20:51
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    @LukeSawczak Have you considered Groening is the only non-musician in the list? With the typical construction the coordination appears before the last item in the list. What if something was missing because of an ellipse of sth. which was maybe equivalent to something like or still even in English (but this is beyond my level of proficiency and the scope of the site)? I'm not sure about the missing word I would add to ou here. But then you could have an addition by way of a nuance about the profession, within an list of items linked by an incl. or which would indeed be non-finite imho... – user3177 May 15 '17 at 21:03
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    @LukeSawczak Some mix of "ou même", "ou aussi", "ou encore"? Not sure it's the most probable or reasonable interpretation but Groening's difference in this written list sort of enables a walking back of the garden path so to speak. Thanks. – user3177 May 15 '17 at 21:03
  • Very good point. "Like these musicians, or artist Matt Groening," that is. ("ou bien" is another option to add to your list.) I agree that could influence this case, though now I have to keep my eyes peeled, because I've seen this elsewhere and would need to see whether that caveat applies to the other cases. – Luke Sawczak May 15 '17 at 23:42

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