Edited by Bergljot Behrens, Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen, Hilde Hasselgård and Stig Johansson
[Languages in Contrast 7:2] 2007
► pp. 185–202
Explaining connections in Akan discourse
The role of discourse markers
The present paper focuses on the communicative roles of three discourse markers, na, (n)so and nanso, in Akan, a Niger Congo (Kwa branch) language. (N)so is an additive focus marker. Its use gives the addressee an indication that the (n)so-utterance ought to be processed within a parallel context provided by the immediately preceding utterance. It highlights the fact that the kind of parallel context that licenses the use of (n)so is much more lenient than is the case for the use of its English equivalent also/too. Significantly, an explanatory relation is among the inferential relations that may arise as a result of the use of the clausal coordinating connective na, a situation which is not permissible in the case of its English counterpart and. The contrastive marker nanso, much like its English counterpart but, signals that the proposition expressed in a following utterance is contrary to what is to be expected. It is suggested that specific language-internal facts ought to be recognized and accounted for within the pursuit of a general cognitive theory of utterance interpretation.
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