Referential and functional aspects &#8232;of the Norwegian first person plural <i>vi</i>

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This paper explores questions of reference and communicative functions of the Norwegian first-person plural pronoun <i>vi</i>, based on transcripts of video recorded conversations between patients and nursing students or medical students. While many authentic examples of <i>vi</i> seem to be at odds with the meaning of <i>vi</i> proposed in Borthen (2010), we argue that the discrepancy is only apparent and can be accounted for through a pragmatic, relevance-theoretic analysis (Sperber and Wilson 1995). We compare this analysis to a sense enumeration approach and claim that the former is preferred for cognitive reasons. We show how pragmatic processes and principles can explain the fluidity of <i>vi</i>, and how our analysis is compatible with various communicative functions of the pronoun.


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