Metadiscursive and interpersonal values of pronominal topics in spoken Spanish

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This paper presents a discussion on the interactive and textual functions of pronominal marked topics in spoken Spanish. The study is a continuation of an empirical analysis based on Marcos Marín’s <i>Corpus oral de referencia de español contemporáneo</i> (Marcos Marín 1992), in which we have examined the formal types and pragmatic functions of marked topics in peninsular spoken Spanish, applying a conversational approach to topic (Hidalgo Downing 2003). According to the results of that study, Spanish speakers use marked topics to signal different types of movements in topic sequencing, such as topic introduction, framing, shading and closing. A large group of marked topics in spoken Spanish is composed of pronouns, which are informationally given elements by definition. In Spanish then, marked topics are not restricted to the introduction of referents which are not completely recoverable to the hearers, as other studies have suggested (Geluykens 1992), but rather, serve interactive and textual functions. In this paper, we aim to examine the discourse functions of personal and demonstrative pronouns, and to discuss the organizational and interpersonal nature of such functions. The idea we would like to explore is that topic signalling can be studied as a metadiscursive device, where the different functions of pronouns serve as orientation to hearers in the organization, regulation and interpretation of discourse.<br />


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