Intersubjective positioning in French and English

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Similar to the uses of default discourse markers such as ‘well’, ‘you know’ and ‘I mean’, instances of ‘it depends’ and ‘ça dépend’ can be attested in which the speaker’s intersubjective positioning seems to be the main motivation behind their use (Moissinac and Bamberg 2004). In this paper we explore the systematicity and frequency of such examples in both French and English based on extensive contextualised corpus-based analysis. In particular, we will focus on their functional and formal features and attest to what extent they can be diagnosed as representative of ongoing intersubjectification processes. In doing so, we will trace differences and similarities between the two languages. The study shows that there is indeed fertile ground for such expressions to develop in the direction of discourse markers and that they evolve at slightly different paces in both languages.


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