WHERE FOCUS FORMULAS AND DISCOURSE MARKERS MEET

Silvie Válková, Jarmila Tárnyiková

Abstract

Our paper, theoretically anchored in functional and systemic grammar, focuses on a relatively marginal type of focus formulas (FFs), referred to by Schmid (2001) as ‘N-bethat- constructions’ or constructions with shell-Nouns (cf. The trouble/problem/fact… is that people have short memories.). When we used corpus data (BNC, COCA) to verify the role of FFs in information packaging in text/discourse, we were faced with their two seemingly contrary manifestations: they occurred either (i) as relatively stable utteranceinitial templates or (ii) as looser confi gurations, co-occurring with various discourse markers (DMs). Our hypothesis is that in the latter case, namely when interlaced into clusters of DMs, the FFs tend to adapt to the communicatively regulative (Leech 1983) roles of surrounding DMs, and extend their role as focalising devices by an additive role, i.e. to participate in overt language manifestations of a number of pragmatically-based communicative strategies associated with facework. Our aim is to verify the validity of our hypothesis by authentic language data.

Keywords

communicatively regulative units; focus formulas; shell-Noun; information packaging; discourse markers; facework; pragmatic enrichment

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