Cognitive verbs in context
A contrastive analysis of English and French argumentative discourse
This paper examines the frequency, distribution and function of 1st person self-references with the cognitive verbs think and believe, and penser and croire in British English and French argumentative discourse comprising 29 British political interviews (178,712 words) and 26 French political interviews (118,825 words). It employs quantity-based methodology supplemented by insights from a context-dependent qualitative analysis, considering explicitly the co-occurrence of these cognitive verbs with discourse connectives. It argues for these 1st person self-references to be assigned not only a subjectivising function, but also one of expressing intersubjectivity.
In the two sets of data, the parenthetical constructions signify that the status of a particular piece of information encoded in a proposition is open for negotiation. Depending on their co-occurrences with discourse connectives they may boost or attenuate the pragmatic force of the contribution which they qualify.
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