A Corpus-based study of say as a discourse marker

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Jang, EunYoung

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Department of English Language and Literature, Seoul National University
SNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics, Vol.3, pp. 134-152
corpusdiachronic analysisdiscourse markerpragmatic functionsaysynchronic analysis
Discourse markers have been considered important element constituent of language performing various functions in discourse. This study focuses on the pragmatic functions of the discourse marker say which has been only regarded as categorized into classes of verbs with a sense of speaking, telling according to traditional speech categorization. The study attempts to account for the pragmatic functions of DM say synchronically and diachronically by examining the corpus of the data from switchboard corpus and the Oxford English dictionary, respectively. The pragmatic function of the DM say was classified into eight categories in the synchronic analysis: approximator; a signal to present the specified information a signal for exemplifying supposing a hypothetical situation; a signal of self-repair; a signal of topic change; an utterance terminator device; and an attracting device. On the other hand, five functions were identified in the diachronic analysis: attention attracting device, device of supposing a hypothetical situation; approximator; a signal to present the specified information; and a signal for exemplifying. The diachronic analysis reveals the chronicle order of the DM says function. The difference between the two analyses results reveals that the DM says function has changed slightly more specified. This study adds a pedagogical implication of teaching a discourse marker to improve the learners' communicative abilities suggesting some activities.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU Working Papers in English Language and LinguisticsSNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics Vol.03 (2004)
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