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Sentence-Level Pragmatic Devices

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes three different syntactic devices which exhibit a pragmatic rather than a semantic function. That is, rather than affecting the propositional meaning of the utterance, they signal certain attitudes or intentions of the speaker in the particular situation in which the utterance is made. The devices to be discussed are postposing, pragmatic adverbials, and sentence-final particles. All of the data examples in the chapter are therefore taken from spontaneously occurring natural discourse, for the most part conversation between two or more speakers. The postposed elements are also pronounced with less stress and a lower pitch than the remainder of the utterance. Research in other languages has suggested that devices referring to the deictic centre are often used with pragmatic effect. The sentence-final particles to be described in the chapter are me, na, nyi, dang, la, le, and ko. Each occurs only utterance-finally.

Keywords: deictic centre pragmatic devices; sentence-level pragmatic devices

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