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4 - Cross-Linguistic Variation in Spoken Discourse Markers

Distribution, Functions, and Domains

from Part I - Innovations in Theory and Method

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2022

Elizabeth Peterson
Affiliation:
University of Helsinki
Turo Hiltunen
Affiliation:
University of Helsinki
Joseph Kern
Affiliation:
University of Virginia’s College at Wise
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Summary

This chapter aims to analyze the variation in use and functions of a broad bottom–up selection of discourse markers across four languages from different typological families, namely French and Spanish (Romance), English (Germanic), and Polish (Slavic). Such an endeavor requires that we not only overcome issues of definition and delimitation of the discourse marker category but also design an annotation model encompassing their full functional spectrum, in the perspective of spoken discourse analysis. Our study follows a corpus–based multilingual annotation scheme for functions of (spoken) discourse markers. The functional taxonomy distinguishes between four domains that may be combined with fifteen functions. This taxonomy with two independent levels has been applied to spoken unplanned dialogues in the four languages. The annotations were extracted for contrastive analyses of distribution and variation of discourse markers and their functions. The results indicate that the multilingual annotation scheme may be applied validly to the four different languages. This makes it possible to uncover both similarities and divergences in the functional and semantic distribution of discourse markers. This multidimensional and multilingual approach to discourse markers offers a fine–grained portrait of the variation and of the polyfunctionality of this category across typological families.

Type
Chapter
Information
Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change
Theory, Innovations, Contact
, pp. 83 - 104
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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