Edited by Vahid Parvaresh and Grace Zhang
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 29:1] 2019
► pp. 33–61
Sort of is a pragmatic particle with a range of functions in different contexts. There are different factors which can contribute to its varied functions. Focusing on the media discourse, this study investigates the frequency and pragmatic functions of sort of in New Zealand English. Based on the analysis of the data from a current affairs TV program, the study shows that sort of is a pragmatic particle under-used in this discourse type. The analysis of its pragmatic functions demonstrates that right amount of information and mitigation fulfill a substantial proportion of sort of functions. The other two functions, avoidance and discourse management, are less frequent, but still perform important roles in effective media communication.