Pragmatic markers in contrast: Spanish <i>pues nada</i> and English <i>anyway</i>

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The use of Spanish <i>pues nada </i>as a pragmatic marker, which has so far been overlooked in the linguistic literature, has aroused an interest among the general public, as reflected in an interesting correspondence on the Internet. This discussion has been used as a starting-point for the present article, which compares the various pragmatic functions of <i>pues nada </i>in teenage conversation with the functions of <i>anyway</i>, which seems to be its nearest correspondence in English. The study shows that both items, besides creating and maintaining coherence, serve as organizers and monitors on the discourse level as well as indicators of speaker attitudes and intentions on the interactional/interpersonal level. Sometimes they are just uttered to show that there is nothing more to say. Other markers with similar functions, notably Spanish <i>bueno </i>and English <i>OK </i>and <i>well, </i>will also be considered.


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