<i>Teyuuka</i> and <i>I mean</i> as pragmatic parentheticals in Japanese and English

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The English <i>I mean</i> and the Japanese <i>teyuuka</i> differ syntactically and semantically, but they have similar pragmatized uses. Both verbs, <i>mean</i> and <i>yuu</i>, function as regular verbs in main clauses and also as part of formulaic expressions which indicate a modal meaning with respect to an utterance, or project back to an earlier utterance and index it as inadequate or in need of modification. Both constructions can also frame another expression as a modification of the earlier utterance. They also function metacommunicatively to manage the interaction on a strategic level. The article compares the structure and functions of these two constructions in conversation and shows how structurally different expressions used in certain kinds of discourse and interactional contexts have come to serve similar but not identical pragmatic needs.


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