Edited by Karin Aijmer and Bengt Altenberg
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 54] 2013
► pp. 127–138
Spanish vale and English okay
As has been emphasized in a number of publications, pragmatic/discourse markers play a crucial role in colloquial language overall, and in young people’s language in particular. But the use of pragmatic markers in a contrastive perspective has attracted less attention. This paper is devoted to the Spanish pragmatic marker vale and its closest English equivalent okay, as they are used in Corpus Oral de Lenguaje Adolescente de Madrid (COLAm) and The Bergen Corpus of London Teenage Language (COLT). These markers have a great deal in common: (1) they are both very frequent in conversational encounters, (2) they are both multifunctional, and (3) most of the functions seem to converge. The study shows, among other things, that okay is a more versatile marker than vale, which, on the other hand, is slightly more frequent than okay, and that both markers are used more frequently by teenagers than by adults.