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Pragmatic markers as constructions. The case of anyway

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Abstract

The aim of the study is to explore the idea that discourse markers are oriented to properties of spoken language and the interaction and have special uses or tasks depending on formal and contextual factors. The empirical data comes from an analysis of anyway in informal conversation in several regional varieties of English. The British component of the ICE-corpus was selected as the home variety. Comparisons have been made with Canadian English (ICE-CAN), Philippine English (ICE-PHIL), and New Zealand English (ICE-NZ). Anyway has been analysed in a constructional approach as a combination of form and function. It does not have a fixed meaning but a meaning potential containing information about the position of anyway in the clause and the turn sequence, collocation, activity types and regional specialization. The analysis has shown that anyway can be regarded as distinct constructions (or meaning potentials) in the left and the right periphery or as a stand-alone marker. The meanings reflect the activities and tasks which have to be performed at interactionally sensitive transitions in the evolving discourse. While some varieties prefer anyway in the left periphery this may not be a general tendency when we look at more varieties.

References

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