Edited by Kate Beeching, Chiara Ghezzi and Piera Molinelli
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 292] 2018
► pp. 127–153
Chapter 6Metacommenting in English and French
A variational pragmatics approach
Metacommenters allow speakers to take some distance from a particular lexical selection, or enter into a negotiation with their interlocutors. A variational pragmatics approach is taken to the investigation of metacommenting in English and French, in Europe and Canada/the US, drawing on a range of time-dated corpora.
English and French draw pragmatically on similar linguistic resources for their pool of metacommenters, subjectivity being expressed through sort of/kind of and like in English, and genre, comme and post-posed quoi in French, while intersubjectivity is inherent in the personal pronouns in if you like/if you will in English and si tu veux/si vous voulez in French.
The linguistic forms used for the purpose of metacommenting arise from items with similar core meanings in the two languages, but develop, increase and decrease in frequency at different rates across national varieties, giving rise to regional differences and indexicalities.
- 2.Background/literature review
- 2.1Subjectivity and PMs
- 2.2Identity, indexicality and PMs
- 2.3From variationist to variational
- 2.3.1What is a pragmatic variable?
- 2.3.2A variational and corpus linguistic approach to pragmatic variables
- 2.4Metacommenting in English and French
- 2.4.1 if-ECs
- 2.4.2PMs derived from type-noun constructions: Sort of, kind of and genre
- 2.4.4Post-posed quoi
- 2.4.5Examples from the corpora (see 3.1 for details of the corpora investigated)
- 3.Data and methods
- 3.1The corpora investigated
- 3.2Raw rates of occurrence per 10,000 words
- 3.3Classifying the markers into functional sub-types