Edited by Christopher S. Butler, Raquel Hidalgo Downing and Julia Lavid-López
[Studies in Language Companion Series 85] 2007
► pp. 395–418
In this paper I seek to provide a grammatical account of some aspects of the realisation of speech acts in spoken discourse that are considered formulaic and/or, in some sense elliptical, as described in Biber et al’s (1999) description of the ‘grammar of conversation’. Focusing on apologies involving sorry, I discuss the treatment of formulaic sorry in isolation, together with variants that include it. The discussion is set within the theoretical and descriptive framework of Systemic Functional Grammar (e.g. Halliday and Matthiessen 2004) and the solutions proposed are given in terms of (a) a functionally motivated grammatical structure associated with this framework and (b) system networks that represent the choices available to speakers in a given context.
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