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Context and Appropriateness

Micro meets macro

Context and Appropriateness
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The study presented in this paper examines the context-dependence and dialogue functions of the contrastive markers of Italian ma (but), invece (instead), mentre (while) and però (nevertheless) within task-oriented dialogues. Corpus data evidence their sensitivity to a acognitive interpersonal context, conceived as a common ground. Such a cognitive state – shared by co-participants through the coordinative process of grounding – interacts with the global dialogue structure, which is cognitively shaped by “meta-negotiating” and grounding the dialogue topic. Locally, the relation between the current dialogue structural units and the global dialogue topic is said to be specified by information structure, in particular intra-utterance themes. It is argued that contrastive markers re-orient the co-participants’ cognitive states towards grounding ungrounded topical aspects to be meta-negotiated. They offer a collaborative context-updating strategy, tracking the status of common ground during dialogue topic management.
John Benjamins Publishing Company; July 2007
272 pages; ISBN 9789027292254
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