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Discourse Readjustment(s) in Contemporary English

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Discourse Readjustment(s) in Contemporary English

Blandine Pennec

ISBN: 978-1-786-30282-3 June 2018 Wiley-ISTE 378 Pages

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Description

This study examines the linguistic tools which enable speakers and writers to propose adjustments and re-adjustments of the sentences they’ve just produced, as well as the goals they fulfil by doing so. We examine corrections, reformulations, specifications, modifications of points of views and link them with discursive strategies. (Re)-adjustments can be made in order to express oneself in a better way, to favor comprehension by adapting to the addressee, to structure one’s intervention, to play on the potentialities of language (polysemy, homonymy, ambiguity), to mention the main purposes associated with the use of those devices. The study focuses on the markers associated with those strategies. Therefore, it links the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels.

Foreword xiii

Preface xv

General Introduction xvii

Part 1 Definitions, Motivations and Typology of Discourse Readjustment Phenomena 1

Introduction to Part 1 3

Chapter 1 Definitions: Mutual Intelligibility, Adjustment,Readjustment and Intersubjectivity 5

1.1 Preliminary reminders: language activity, language as a specific system, discourse and the role of subjectivity 5

1.2 Mutual intelligibility, adjustment, readjustment 7

1.3 Exploring the starting point: adjustment in TEO by Antoine Culioli 10

1.4 Delimiting adjustment and the importance of the concept of readjustment 13

1.5 The notion of intersubjectivity: when philosophy and linguistics meet 16

1.6 Intrasubjectivity or the question of harmony between thought and speech 18

1.7 Conclusion 20

Chapter 2 Motivations Underpinning the Phenomena of Readjustment 23

2.1 Phenomena linked to denotation 24

2.1.1 Polysemy 24

2.1.2 Homonymy 26

2.1.3 Vagueness 26

2.2 Phenomena linked to questions of reference 28

2.2.1 Cases of fluctuating reference 28

2.2.2 Derived speech acts and their effects in discourse 29

2.2.3 Ambiguous utterances 30

2.2.4 Problems of linguistic non-coincidences 33

2.3 Questions linked to implicit messages 33

2.3.1 Connotations 33

2.3.2 Presupposed and implied messages 35

2.4 Phenomena of play on/with language 36

2.4.1 Metaphors 36

2.4.2 Euphemisms 38

2.4.3 Irony 38

2.5 Conclusion 40

Chapter 3 Typology of Readjustments 41

3.1 Intra- and intersubjective readjustments: concrete manifestations 41

3.1.1 Strictly intersubjective readjustments: focusing 41

3.1.2 Intrasubjective readjustments: characterization 43

3.2 Different degrees of reflexive view 44

3.3 Readjustments on the microstructural and macrostructural level 47

3.4 Readjustments to express oneself better, more correctly,or to change point of view 48

3.5 Readjustments invalidating more or less the initial commitment? 50

3.6 Conclusion 51

Conclusion to Part 1 53

Part 2 Reformulations: Readjustments to Express Oneself More Accurately? 55

Introduction to Part 2 57

Chapter 4 The Function of Reformulations in the Framework of Language Activity and Discourse 59

4.1 Reformulations and reflexive view 59

4.2 Discourse progression and the pragmatic value of reformulations 62

4.3 Reformulations, verbal interactions and textual organization 64

4.4 Readjustments with varied modalities 65

4.4.1 Immediate or deferred reformulations? 66

4.4.2 Self- or hetero-reformulations? 67

4.4.3 Total or partial reformulations 68

4.5 Configurations and associated discursive strategies 69

4.5.1 Cases of “intersubjective readjustments” 69

4.5.2 Cases of “intrasubjective” readjustments 71

4.6 Conclusion 73

Chapter 5 The Notion of Reformulation and its Linguistic Manifestations 75

5.1 What link is there between segments, in a reformulation? 75

5.1.1 Paraphrase, or absence of explicit link 76

5.1.2 Paraphrastic reformulation: when the equivalence is made explicit 77

5.1.3 Non-paraphrastic reformulation, or re-elaboration of content 78

5.2 How is an operation of reformulation identified? 79

5.2.1 The case of paraphrastic reformulations 80

5.2.2 The case of non-paraphrastic reformulations 82

5.3 Conclusion 86

Chapter 6 Paraphrastic or Non-paraphrastic Reformulations: Prototypical Introducers and Associated Strategies 89

6.1 Study of prototypical paraphrastic readjustments: the case of in other words 89

6.1.1 Overall function of the fixed phrase 89

6.1.2 Narrow or wide readjustments 92

6.1.3 Readjustment and change in discursive level 94

6.1.4 High compatibility with the change of voice 96

6.2 Study of emblematic non-paraphrastic readjustments: the case of or rather 99

6.2.1 A meta-enunciative dimension 99

6.2.2 Different facets of the readjustment at work 101

6.2.3 Strategies and stylistic play linked to such readjustments 104

6.3 Conclusion 107

Conclusion to Part 2 109

Part 3 Phenomena of Re-examination: Readjustments to Perfect One’s Stance? 111

Introduction to Part 3 113

Chapter 7 Recentering: In fact and Competing Markers 115

7.1 Examination of “(re)centering” as a metaterm 115

7.2 Questions relating to the sequence in fact 116

7.3 Closeness and distance relating to reformulation 118

7.4 The adverbial use and the connector 121

7.4.1 The adverbial use 121

7.4.2 The connector 122

7.5 The meaning effects associated with the fixed phrase 125

7.5.1 The reconsideration associated with the adverb 125

7.5.2 The connector and the effect of rectification 126

7.5.3 The connector introducing an upgrading process 128

7.5.4 The explicitation effect associated with the connector 129

7.5.5 Connection and summarizing 130

7.6 What type of readjustment underpins these effects? 132

7.7 Semantically close sequences or markers 134

7.8 Conclusion 136

Chapter 8 Upgrading and Downgrading: the Cases of Or even and Or at least 139

8.1 Examining notions of upgrading and downgrading 139

8.2 Questions relating to the sequences or even and or at least 141

8.3 Modus operandi of these sequences 142

8.3.1 Semantico-pragmatic instructions at work 142

8.3.2 Conditions enabling readjustment and therefore predictability 145

8.4 The role of the different markers in these sequences 148

8.4.1 Crucial role of the conjunction or 148

8.4.2 Value of even and at least 150

8.5 Interpretative mechanisms and representation of readjustments at work 152

8.6 Possible discursive and rhetorical effects 154

8.7 Conclusion 157

Chapter 9 Potential Upgrading: the Sequence If not 159

9.1 Configurations enabling the readjustment to emerge 160

9.2 Components at play in this potential upgrading process 162

9.2.1 The components’ respective contribution 162

9.2.2 Interaction of these markers 164

9.3 Discursive and pragmatic effects linked to using such readjustments 165

9.4 Conclusion 170

Conclusion to Part 3 171

Part 4 Distancing Processes: Readjustments for Changing Viewpoint? 173

Introduction to Part 4 175

Chapter 10 Abandoning a First Enunciative Perspective: Examination of Anyway 177

10.1 Status of the marker anyway and questions raised 177

10.2 Overview of the different configurations of use 178

10.3 Principal hypotheses and putting into perspective 180

10.4 Typology of the uses of anyway 182

10.4.1 Distancing processes relating to an implicature 182

10.4.2 Distancing relating to a part of the propositional content 183

10.4.3 Distancing in relation to the status of a segment 184

10.4.4 Distancing in relation to an approached subject 184

10.4.5 Distancing in relation to the very act of communication 185

10.5 A specific readjustment: abandoning a perspective 186

10.6 Remarks on relating fixed phrases 187

10.7 Conclusion 189

Chapter 11 Disconnection and Renewed Stance: the Case of the Marker Now 191

11.1 Status of the marker now 191

11.2 Exploring the mechanisms in greater detail 192

11.2.1 The temporal use: interpretative adjustment and marking boundaries 193

11.2.2 The discursive use: a readjustment to be contextualized 195

11.3 The fundamental value of now and the conditions for readjustment to emerge 198

11.4 Conclusion 199

Chapter 12 The Fixed Phrase After all, or Reconsidering a Viewpoint 201

12.1 First characterization of after all and questioning 201

12.2 Reconsidering a point of view: manifestations 205

12.3 Which viewpoint is brought into question? 208

12.4 Configurations using after all and sequencing types 210

12.5 The fundamental value of after all: readjustment, in terms of enunciative perspective 214

12.6 Conclusion 216

Conclusion to Part 4 217

Part 5 Inserted Segments: Readjustments for Playing with Language? 219

Introduction to Part 5 221

Chapter 13 The Use of Metalinguistic Expressions: Readjustments With Rhetorical Aim 223

13.1 Questions raised by these expressions 223

13.2 First characterization 224

13.2.1 The metalinguistic dimension 224

13.2.2 A reflexive view centered on an element 225

13.3 Locating the target element 227

13.4 The mechanisms at play in readjustment 230

13.4.1 Partial opacification of the target element 230

13.4.2 The nature of the readjustment at work 231

13.5 Conclusion 236

Chapter 14 Readjustments in Parenthetical Form 239

14.1 Syntactical and enunciative characterization 239

14.2 Parameters that trigger the identification of readjustment 243

14.3 Discursive and pragmatic function of such readjustments 245

14.4 The difference between parentheses and dashes 249

14.5 The different types of non-coincidences motivating these readjustments 251

14.6 Conclusion 253

Chapter 15 Dialogical Readjustments: Structures in It is not that… 255

15.1 First approach and questioning 255

15.2 Syntactic characteristics of the construction 257

15.3 The value of the markers, the construction and its variants 262

15.4 Between the content and the wording: the nature of the readjustment at work 265

15.5 A dialogical readjustment 269

15.6 Conclusion 270

Conclusion to Part 5 273

Part 6 Readjustments Characteristic of Oral Discourse: Phenomena of Co-enunciative (Re)Structuring? 275

Introduction to Part 6 277

Chapter 16 The Sequence I mean: From “Gap Filler” to Readjustment Marker 281

16.1 Intended meaning and related issues 281

16.2 Types of use and interpretations 283

16.3 Self-interpretation and structuring 288

16.3.1 Macro-readjustments and organizing information 288

16.3.2 Micro-readjustments 290

16.4 Conclusion 292

Chapter 17 Readjustments Calling on the Co-enunciator: You know and You see 295

17.1 Compatibility with introducing readjustments 295

17.2 Detachment and meta-enunciative status 298

17.3 Different types of use and specificities of these readjustments 301

17.3.1 Uses outside the readjustment framework 301

17.3.2 Uses within the readjustment framework 303

17.4 Interpersonal dimension and enunciative construction in process 307

17.5 Conclusion 311

Chapter 18 Expectations of the Co-enunciator: the Use of Mind you 313

18.1 Observation of host configurations 313

18.2 Argumentative contexts linked to using the fixed phrase 316

18.2.1 Concessive anti-oriented linking 317

18.2.2 Refutative anti-oriented linking 317

18.2.3 Co-oriented linking 318

18.3 What fundamental value for mind you? 319

18.4 Parameters explaining the type of readjustment at work 323

18.5 Conclusion 325

Conclusion to Part 6 327

General Conclusion 329

Bibliography 335

Index 349