Chapter in:Pragmatic Markers and Peripheries
Edited by Daniël Van Olmen and Jolanta Šinkūnienė
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 325] 2021
► pp. 352–381
Pragmatic markers at the periphery and discourse prominence
The case of English of course
This chapter argues that position interacts with discourse prominence in the development of pragmatic markers. A case study of the English marker of course traces its historical development over Late Modern English to its present-day usage at both left (LP) and right (RP) peripheries. It is argued that of course splits along informational lines: of course-1 becomes more backgrounded while of course-2 bears focus. At LP of course-1 acquires a presentational function while at RP it marks its host as a comment on a previous idea, in a hypotactic discourse structure. The emergence of information-packaging functions may be seen as a further grammaticalization of the PM.
Keywords: pragmatic marker, discourse prominence, periphery, grammaticalization, discourse structure