Iconicity in the coding of pragmatic functions

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This study takes a look at the more abstract and relational form of diagrammatic iconicity. Based on previous research of the discourse-pragmatic level, the paper shows that an understanding of the complex relation between structure, function and context in specific genres may help to provide insight into those phenomena which have traditionally been described as disclaimers. By using disclaimers speakers predefine problematic events for others in order to forestall negative retypification. On the basis of the present study it can be concluded that in spoken everyday interaction disclaimers are used as responses to virtual offences. In written argumentative political discourse, however, they are both: a reaction to real offences and a prevention of further negative evaluation. They are to a large extent transparent and thus iconic in that their use resembles people’s activities and behaviour in conflicting situations.


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