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, 2010

811.11142

CONTRASTIVE DISCOURSE MARKERS IN INDIRECTNESS


STRATEGIES

Volkova L.M.


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The article introduces contrastive discourse markers of the English language and
reveals the role they play in realizing indirect discursive strategies. Concessive and
temporal semantics of discourse markers makes them perfect means of realization of
indirect discourse strategies of inducement, evaluation, hedging, changing or closing
the topic of interaction.
Key words: discourse marker, discourse strategy, explicit proposition, implicit proposition,
correlation.

People have different beliefs about language. One sequentially dependent elements that bracket units of
of them is that good usage involves (among other talk and considered them as a set linguistic expressions
things) clarity, precision and directness. Hence, it is that comprised of members of word classes as varied
believed that vagueness, ambiguity, imprecision, and as conjunctions (because, and, but, or), interjections
general woolliness are to be avoided [2, p. 1]. However, (oh), adverbs (now, then), and lexicalized phrases
actual language in use proves the contrary. Language (yknow, I mean). Her main conclusion was that these
is deceptive and vague because it is used by people. markers could work at different levels of discourse to
Quite often, for different reasons, we tend not to reveal connect utterances across different planes [4, p. 312; 5,
our real purpose. To achieve his communicative p. 5475]. A decade later D. Blakemore classified as
intention, the communicator has to choose one of a discourse markers some utterance initial units like so,
range of different language and speech means we have well, still, after all defining the role these expressions
at our disposal. In natural communication it is often play as marking, signaling or indicating how one unit of
achieved by indirectness strategies. The article is aimed discourse is connected to another [1, p. 113]. B.Frazer
at revealing the role of discourse markers in sees discourse markers as serving an integrative function
communicative indirect strategies. The object of in discourse, contributing to discourse coherence, he
investigation of the article is discourse markers with the defines them as discourse glue and provides their
invariant meaning of contrast as components of pragmatic classification; his list of discourse markers
indirectness strategies. The subject of investigation is comprises about 30 lexical items belonging to different
semantic, pragmatic and functional peculiarities of the classes of words [3, p. 116]. All language analysts
discourse markers. The actuality of the research is mentioned above agree upon the fact that the main
predetermined by the necessity of revealing specific function of discourse markers is to provide cohesive
conditions of functioning of those language units that ties within discourse fragments. In this article, we will
are devoid of referential and nominative power. try to show that cohesive function is not the only one,
The notion of discourse markers was first introduced and by far not the most important one that these small
by D.Schiffrin. She defined discourse markers as language units can perform.

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Contrastive discourse markers are defined so Toni, he responded with pleasure. Its nice to hear
because at the discourse level they correlate two from you. What made you call me at this ungodly hour?
utterances by means of rendering the semantic The whole truth? Ive been pining here, hoping
meaning of contrast: the explicit proposition with a youd make a house call. Since it didnt look like it was
discourse marker is opposed to the implicit proposition going to happen, I phoned your apartment. When I got
that is not expressed formally in the discourse. Let us no answer, I decided to find out whether you were on a
consider the following example: heavy date or buried in research. Is there someone in
Luigi smiled with excitement. With a little luck, his your life yet? [8, p. 47].
cameras were about to record Marco getting nabbed. The meaning of a temporal change in the future
Maybe they would kill him right there in the living room, inherent in the semantic structure of yet makes it possible
captured on film. Perhaps the plan would work after all for this marker to change the illocutionary force of a
[6, p. 236]. speech act. In the present example the item yet which
In the given text fragment by means of the correlates the utterance Is there someone in your life
discourse marker after all , the following implicit yet? with the implicit proposition There will be someone
information is rendered: the plan was not expected to in your life sooner or later acts as the marker of the well
work, it was destined to fail as there were a lot of hidden indirect strategy of inducement because it
obstacles. Thus, the implicit information revealed by transforms the interrogative utterance into the indirect
means of correlating two propositions, is opposed to speech act a directive Its about time for you to find a
the explicit one. In addition, the meaning rendered by girlfriend. The speaker resorts to the hedging strategy in
after all contains a semantic component of concession order to reduce his responsibility for making the hearer
(though the plan was destined to fail). This observation perform a certain action, which gives him an opportunity
is crucial for our research because it serves the basis to save face in the process of speech interaction.
for distinguishing other function words that possess a Concessive markers are very popular means of
contrastive-concessive semantics. Besides, the invariant expressing communicants intention in indirect
meaning of contrastive semantics may also be strategies, and that is why they are frequently used by
combined with the meaning of a temporal change, native speakers in conversations. Of special interest here
which makes the group of analyzed discourse markers are anyway and actually as these small and practically
even broader. invisible language units are capable of rendering various
The group of contrastive-concessive discourse markers pragmatic meanings. Consider the following example
includes 10 language units: anyway, anyhow, at any rate, of actually:
in any event, at least, anyhow, actually, in any case, in Andrew are you busy tonight? Ted asked
fact, really. At the discourse level all these items reveal nervously. I mean, could you spare me five minutes
similar qualities because they also render the idea of after the library closes?
concession by correlating explicit and implicit propositions. Sure, Lambros. Want to go downstairs to the Grill
As it was mentioned above, contrastive ties revealed for a couple of cheeseburgers?
by discourse markers may also be temporal. The Uh? Well, actually, Id prefer some place a little
following example illustrates the scope of action of a more private [7, p. 97].
temporal discourse marker: The last utterance of this discourse fragment
The lobby was empty at such an early hour, and introduces the implicit proposition though you suggested
Richard was already at his desk with a tall cup of coffee, going to the Grill, I dont like this idea. Specific procedural
the Wall Street Journal, and evidently very little to do concessive semantics of the discourse marker actually
[6, p. 161]. makes it a perfect means of realizing the indirect strategy
By means of already the explicit information Richard of polite rejecting the proposal of the previous speaker.
was already at his desk is opposed to the implicit The semantics of concessive contrast allows anyway
information Richard was not at his desk before . in the next discourse fragment to function as an important
Consequently, the discourse marker already implies component and even basic means for realization of
that the state of things was different before by rendering indirect strategy of evaluation:
the idea of temporal change. Tony hit the roof. Ill bet that childless old bitch
The list of temporal discourse markers includes 8 which put this into your head. I dont want any shrinks
language units: already, still, yet, as yet, so far, any butting into our lives, she shouted. Were perfectly
more, any longer, at last. All these items render the capable of dealing with Heather on our own I am,
meaning of temporal change by correlating explicit anyway [8, p. 167].
and implicit propositions. The utterance I am, anyway correlates with the
The inherent semantic meaning of contrast makes implicit proposition though others may find Heather
temporal and concessive discourse markers perfect difficult to deal with. Thus, by means of anyway, the
means of conveying important pragmatic information speaker provides an implicit evaluation and makes the
in conversational discourse. The latter, in its turn, utterance a component of the indirect hedging strategy.
predetermines the use of these items as important In the utterance-initial position anyway is a marker
components of indirect communicative strategies, of the following conversational strategies: the strategy
especially those of hedging aimed at saving the of topic changing, the strategy of closing the topic of
speakers face in the process of interaction. conversation, the strategy of summing-up. It should be
Let us consider the pragmatic potential of the noted that all these strategies are indirect because of
temporal discourse marker yet in the following discourse the invariant meaning of contrastive concession inherent
fragment: in the semantic structure of this discourse marker. The

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example below illustrates the use of anyway as a pre- It must be emphasized that discursive competence
closing device: implies the knowledge and proper usage of discourse
Do you ever see her? he asked with a touch of markers of English in conversational strategies in order
self-pity. Across a crowded commissary, so to speak. to perform all communicative tasks successfully.
Dont worry, I always give your love. And does she Therefore, contrastive discourse markers that can
even remember me? Are you kidding? Anyway, take function in discourse as means of realization of
care of yourself. Speak to you next week. It was oddly indirectness strategies of inducement, evaluation,
when he hung up that Sandy realized that his father rejecting the proposal or closing the conversation are
had not directly answered his question [Prizes, p. 105]. indispensable in natural communication as they often
Using anyway makes it possible for Sidney, who help to make communication felicitous.
does not want to discuss with his son an unpleasant The prospect of further investigation lies in
subject about his mother, to close the conversation. establishing the role of discourse markers of other
The indirect strategy is chosen by the speaker in order functional groups in realizing indirectness strategies in
to weaken a possible negative perlocutionary effect on conversational discourse.
the hearer.

Literature
1. Blakemore D. Discourse and Relevance Theory / Diana Blakemore // The Handbook of Discourse Analysis /
[eds. Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen and Heidi E. Hamilton]. Malden : Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
P. 100118.
2. Channell J. Vague Language / Joanna Channell. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1994. 226 p.
3. Frazer B. Discourse Markers across Language / Bruce Frazer // Pragmatics and Language Learning :
Monograph Series University of Illinois. 1993. Vol. 4. P. 116.
4. Schiffrin D. Discourse Markers / Deborah Schiffrin. N.Y. : Cambridge University Press, 1996. 364 p.
5. Schiffrin D. Discourse Markers: Language, Meaning and Context / Deborah Schiffrin // The Handbook of
Discourse Analysis / [eds. Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen and Heidi E. Hamilton]. Malden : Blackwell
Publishing, 2003. P. 5475.

Sources of Illustrations
6. Grisham J. The Broker / John Grisham. N.Y. : Doubleday, 2005. 307 p.
7. Segal E. The Class / Erich Segal. N.Y. : Bantam Books, 1985. 531 p.
8. Segal E. Prizes / Erich Segal. N.Y. : Ivy Books, 1995. 500 p.

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