The multifunctionality of epistemic parentheticals in discourse
Prosodic cues to the semantic-pragmatic boundary
The aim of this study is to identify the relation between the interpretation of epistemic parentheticals in discourse and their prosodic realisation. Data drawn from a corpus of British English speech suggests that epistemic parentheticals (comment clauses such as I think, I believe) convey a spectrum of meaning from propositional to interpersonal. They have long been categorised simply as sentence adverbials with a meaning that relates to the truth value of the proposition. However, a study of their prosodic realisation suggests that they occupy a transitional place in the process of semantic change. They can express a wide range of meanings from propositional (sentential) meaning, through discourse meaning to the status of verbal filler. The analysis draws on theories of discourse, historical change and prosody. It makes an important contribution to the understanding of how prosody conveys apparently subtle shades of meaning that are nonetheless crucial for utterance interpretation, including degrees of speaker certainty, the identification of disfluency and the expression of politeness.
Published online: 06 July 2010
Cited by other publications
Adam, Séverine & Martine Dalmas
Auran, Cyril & Rudy Loock
Biber, Douglas & Shelley Staples
Gentens, Caroline, Ditte Kimps, Kristin Davidse, Gilles Jacobs, An Van linden & Lieselotte Brems
Jalilifar, Alireza & Maryam Alavi-Nia
Jee Won Lee
Langacker, Ronald W.
Põldvere, Nele, Matteo Fuoli & Carita Paradis
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs
Travis, Catherine E. & Rena Torres Cacoullos
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 10 october 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.