Absolute initial position

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This paper argues in favour of a discourse position called <i>Absolute Initial Position</i> (AIP). AIP is the place where conversationalists set up the basis for a new conversation, what implies choices regarding the number of participants, their role, the private/public character of the communicative event or the (non) predetermined character of turn-taking. As a result, AIPs are places where major changes in context can take place. <br />AIPs are filled in by a very reduced set of linguistic alternates: greetings, formulae, vocatives and a very narrow subset of discourse markers. Beyond their heterogeneity, AIP-markers share two common functions: they either validate the hearer or validate the message. <br />As a result of the existence of AIPs, discourse markers can be divided into three differents groups: DMs which fit into an AIP; b) DMs which do not fit into an AIP; c) DMs which, when placed into an AIP, invoke a previous context


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