Cognitive verbs in context

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This paper examines the frequency, distribution and function of 1st person self-references with the cognitive verbs <i>think</i> and <i>believe</i>, and <i>penser</i> and <i>croire</i> in British English and French argumentative discourse comprising 29 British political interviews (178,712 words) and 26 French political interviews (118,825 words). It employs quantity-based methodology supplemented by insights from a context-dependent qualitative analysis, considering explicitly the co-occurrence of these cognitive verbs with discourse connectives. It argues for these 1st person self-references to be assigned not only a subjectivising function, but also one of expressing intersubjectivity. In the two sets of data, the parenthetical constructions signify that the status of a particular piece of information encoded in a proposition is open for negotiation. Depending on their co-occurrences with discourse connectives they may boost or attenuate the pragmatic force of the contribution which they qualify.


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