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Understanding Pragmatic Markers

A Variational Pragmatic Approach

Karin Aijmer

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The multifunctionality of pragmatic markers makes it difficult to describe their meaning and functional potential. For example we know very little about pragmatic markers and prosody, their sociolinguistic use (how they are related to the speaker's social class, age or gender) or their distribution across text types (informal conversation, discussion, broadcast programme).

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Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 Introduction, 1.2 The definition of pragmatic markers in this work, 1.2.1 Pragmatic markers and reflexivity,
1.2.2 Pragmatic markers as contextualization cues
1.3 Methodology
1.4 Linguistic theories accounting for the relationship between pragmatic markers and context, 1.4.1 Integrative theories, 1.4.2 Relevance theory, 1.4.3 Pragmatic markers and meaning potentials
1.5 Pragmatic markers and the context
1.6 The formal features of pragmatic markers
1.7 The functional features of pragmatic markers
1.8 Summing up and conclusion
Chapter 2 The pragmatic marker well
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Previous studies of well
2.3 Distribution of well in the corpus
2.4 Formal properties of well
2.5 Well and collocation
2.6 Well and meaning potentials
2.7 The classification of well in this work
2.8 Well and coherence, 2.8.1 Word search and self-repair, 2.8.2 Well as a turn-taking device, 2.8.3 Transition according to an agenda, 2.8.4 Transition to a quotation
2.9 Well and involvement, 2.9.1 Well and agreement, 2.9.2 Well and disagreement, 2.9.3 Well as a feedback to questions
2.10 Well and politeness
2.11 Well in private dialogue, 2.11.1 Well in face-to-face conversation, 2.11.2 Well in telephone conversation
2.12 Well in public dialogue, 2.12.1 Well in broadcast discussion, 2.12.2 Well in cross-examination
2.13 Well in spontaneous commentaries
2.14 Conclusion
Chapter 3 In fact and actually – a class of factuality markers
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Previous work
3.3 The distribution of in fact and actually over text types
3.4 In fact, 3.4.1 Introduction, 3.4.2 Formal factors, Position, Prosodic factors, In fact and collocation
3.5 In fact and function, 3.5.1 The adversative in fact , Emphasising reality, Strong and weak opposition, 3.5.2 The elaborative in fact, 3.5.3 In fact as a hedging device, 3.5.3 In fact as a softener in end position, 3.5.4 Summarising in fact in conversation
3.6 In fact in public dialogue, 3.6.1 In fact in legal cross-examinations, 3.6.2 In fact in broadcast discussion, 3.6.3 In fact in demonstrations
3.7 In fact in monologues, 3.7.1 In fact in demonstrations, 3.7.2 In fact in unscripted speeches
3.8 In fact in writing
3.9 Summarising in fact
3.10 Actually , 3.10.1 Introduction , 3.10.2 Formal factors, Position, Prosodic factors, Actually and collocation
3.11 Actually and function , 3.11.1 Emphasising reality, 3.11.2 Explicit and implicit opposition, 3.11. 3 Hedging and politeness, 3.11. 4 Novelty and surprise, 3.11. 5 Emphasising the speaker’s position, 3.11.6 Elaboration, Topic shift, A ‘change of mind’, Self-interruption and restart Actually as a softener in end position
3.12 Summarising actually in conversation
3.13 Actually in public dialogue
3.13.1 Actually in classroom lessons, 3.13.2 Actually in business transactions
3.14 Actually in monologues, 3.14.1 Actually in demonstrations
3.15 Actually in writing
3.16 Summarising actually
3.17 Comparison of in fact and actually
Chapter 4 General extenders
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Previous work
4.3 The formal structure of general extenders
4.4 The data
4.5 Distribution of the general extenders across varieties
4.6 Factors accounting for the variability of general extenders, 4.6.1 Grammaticalization, 4.6.2 The function of and – and or-extenders, 4.6.3 Shared knowledge and positive politeness, 4.6.4 Intensification, 4.6.5 Hedging and negative politeness, 4.6.6 General extenders and fluency
Chapter 5 Conclusion

About the Author

Karin Aijmer is professor emeritus in English linguistics at the University of Gothenburg


Aijmer’s volume on pragmatic markers is thorough, nuanced, and highly sensitive to contextual factors. The role of context is crucial to any discussion of pragmatics, but is, unfortunately, all too often overlooked in the analysis of markers. Aijmer harnesses a range of corpora to aid her investigation, thus giving it an edge that many other studies of pragmatic markers lack. Further, by taking into account formal, functional, and contextual information, the author produces a deep and subtle analysis of the linguistic elements at hand... This book is a considerable achievement in an understudied area. Understanding Pragmatic Markers will be of interest to sociolinguistic researchers, discourse analysts, specialists in pragmatic markers, and researchers and instructors of spoken language.

- Edie Furniss, Pennsylvania State University, Linguist List

This book is an indispensable tool for researchers interested in socio-pragmatics, conversation and discourse analysis, and language teaching. Also, this is an essential volume for the community of scholars who have been working on PM’s from various theoretical perspectives in recent times, as they will definitely find inspiration for future work on these omnipresent, though ‘fragile’, elements of language.

- Jesús Romero-Trillo, Universidad Auto´noma de Madrid, Journal of Pragmatics

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