LINGUIST List 16.592

Tue Mar 01 2005

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Travis: 'Discourse ...'

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        1.    Catherine Travis, Discourse Markers in Colombian Spanish

Message 1: Discourse Markers in Colombian Spanish

Date: 25-Feb-2005
From: Catherine Travis <>
Subject: Discourse Markers in Colombian Spanish

Institution: La Trobe University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Catherine Travis

Dissertation Title: Discourse Markers in Colombian Spanish

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): Spanish (SPN)

Dissertation Director:
Alan Baxter
Hilary Chappell
Timothy Jowan Curnow

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation presents a semantic analysis of a set of four
functionally related discourse markers that are used frequently in
conversational Colombian Spanish. The markers analysed are bueno 'well,
OK', pues 'well, then', o sea 'I mean, that is to say' and entonces 'so, then'.

The analysis is based on a corpus of four hours of spontaneous
conversation, recorded in Colombia in 1997, and transcribed according to
the UCSB transcription method (cf. Du Bois, Schuetze-Coburn, Cumming and
Paolino 1993). The different functions of these markers identified in the
corpus are outlined and compared with functions identified in previous
analyses. A definition for each marker is proposed, using the Natural
Semantic Metalanguage approach (cf. Wierzbicka 1996, inter alia). It is
argued that each marker has an identifiable semantic core, and that this is
related to the lexical source from which the marker has grammaticised. It
is shown that bueno, which developed from the adjective meaning 'good', is
a marker of (partial) acceptance; pues, which developed from a causal
marker, is used to highlight the link (both causal and other) between the
utterance with which it occurs and an aspect of the prior discourse; o sea,
literally 'or be it', marks an alternative formulation of a prior aspect of
the discourse; and entonces, from the temporal adverb meaning something
like 'then', marks the succession of events and of elements of the discourse.

This is one of the first corpus-based studies to present a semantic
account, using a rigorous methodology, of the multifunctional nature of
discourse markers. It demonstrates not only that discourse markers have
definable meanings, but that an understanding of their meanings is
essential to full understanding of their use.

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