Chapter in:Building Categories in Interaction: Linguistic resources at work
Edited by Caterina Mauri, Ilaria Fiorentini and Eugenio Goria
[Studies in Language Companion Series 220] 2021
► pp. 416–438
In a manner of speaking
The co-construction of manner in spoken Italian dialogues
We provide a functional, corpus-driven definition of the category of Manner and we observe its (co)-construction in interactional discourse. In the linguistic literature, Manner has been traditionally approached as a basic cognitive prime, expressing the way in which an action is performed. It has been traditionally considered as a category fulfilling a basically descriptive function, necessarily realized by a limited inventory of means essentially encoded either at the lexical level, on verbal roots, or at the syntactic level, on verbal adjuncts. In this paper, we propose a functional definition of Manner that allows identifying Manner constructions without prejudging their morphosyntactic realization. We present an annotation scheme of Manner constructions that allows for an exploration of the realizations of this category in a corpus of spoken interactional data. The analysis of 514 occurrences of Manner constructions shows that, far from being a static descriptive monological category, Manner can be regarded as an interactional, gradable category co-constructed by participants in discourse. Manner is used by speakers not only to describe reality but also to reach, in discourse and through discourse, a shared perception of reality.
Keywords: manner, co-costruction of meaning, spoken interaction, corpus-driven