Advanced

The intersubjective role of I think constructions in conversation : Combining evidence from corpus and experimental techniques

Paradis, Carita LU ; Fuoli, Matteo LU and Pöldvere, Nele LU (2016) AELCO, Congreso Internacional, 2016
Abstract
Combining data from spontaneous face-to-face conversations in the London-Lund Corpus (LLC) of spoken British English and a laboratory experiment, this paper analyses the dynamic nature of I think constructions in dialogue. We make use of the functional category of ENGAGEMENT in APPRAISAL theory as an analytical tool (Martin & White, 2005). More precisely, we examine whether I think constructions are used to open up the dialogic space for new ideas or counterarguments, EXPANSION, or whether they are used to fend off alternative views, CONTRACTION.
We explored the conversational corpus data to identify important contextual factors for the functional use of I think in spoken dialogue. The investigation pointed to three factors that... (More)
Combining data from spontaneous face-to-face conversations in the London-Lund Corpus (LLC) of spoken British English and a laboratory experiment, this paper analyses the dynamic nature of I think constructions in dialogue. We make use of the functional category of ENGAGEMENT in APPRAISAL theory as an analytical tool (Martin & White, 2005). More precisely, we examine whether I think constructions are used to open up the dialogic space for new ideas or counterarguments, EXPANSION, or whether they are used to fend off alternative views, CONTRACTION.
We explored the conversational corpus data to identify important contextual factors for the functional use of I think in spoken dialogue. The investigation pointed to three factors that are particularly important for the interpretation of I think constructions in conversation. They are: prosodic cues, other stance markers and social factors. On the basis of this information, we were able to formulate three hypotheses for our experiment:

• H1. Utterances with I think produced by equal-status speakers are perceived as more expansive than utterances produced by higher-status speakers.
• H2. Utterances with I think only are perceived as more expansive than utterances with I think and an additional contractive marker.
• H3. Utterances in which I think receives an accent on the verb are perceived as more expansive than utterances with accent on the pronoun, which in turn are perceived as more expansive than utterances with no accent on I think.

The contributions of this study are both descriptive and theoretical in nature. It is shown that for an accurate description of ENGAGEMENT expressions in conversation, it is necessary to take the prosodic and socio-cognitive dynamic nature of meanings in language use into account (Cruttenden 1997; Du Bois, 2007; Geeraerts et al., 1994; Kärkkäinen, 2003; Paradis, 2003, 2015). We question the APPRAISAL claim that I think is always expansive and the approach itself because of its conception of meaning in language as fixed and its lack of explanatory tools for poly-functionality and meaning shifts. Our results show that I think constructions invoke both EXPANSION and CONTRACTION, and that the interpersonal force of I think constructions rely both on the meanings contributed by the predicates themselves and on contextual factors. Interactions between interlocutor status, prosodic marking and the co-occurrence of other stance markers are shown to have a significant effect on the function of I think, with interlocutor status having the strongest and most consistent effect.

References
Cruttenden, A. (1997). Intonation (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Du Bois, J. W. (2007). The stance triangle. In R. Englebretson (Ed.), Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction (pp. 139–182). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Geeraerts, D., Grondelaers, S., & Bakema, P. (1994). The structure of lexical variation: Meaning, naming and context. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
conference name
AELCO, Congreso Internacional, 2016
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ac72a203-dbab-41a9-9d28-15ffebdf6c40
date added to LUP
2016-10-20 21:49:43
date last changed
2016-10-21 13:23:08
@misc{ac72a203-dbab-41a9-9d28-15ffebdf6c40,
  abstract     = {Combining data from spontaneous face-to-face conversations in the London-Lund Corpus (LLC) of spoken British English and a laboratory experiment, this paper analyses the dynamic nature of I think constructions in dialogue. We make use of the functional category of ENGAGEMENT in APPRAISAL theory as an analytical tool (Martin &amp; White, 2005). More precisely, we examine whether I think constructions are used to open up the dialogic space for new ideas or counterarguments, EXPANSION, or whether they are used to fend off alternative views, CONTRACTION. <br>
We explored the conversational corpus data to identify important contextual factors for the functional use of I think in spoken dialogue. The investigation pointed to three factors that are particularly important for the interpretation of I think constructions in conversation. They are: prosodic cues, other stance markers and social factors. On the basis of this information, we were able to formulate three hypotheses for our experiment:<br>
<br>
•	H1. Utterances with I think produced by equal-status speakers are perceived as more expansive than utterances produced by higher-status speakers.<br>
•	H2. Utterances with I think only are perceived as more expansive than utterances with I think and an additional contractive marker.<br>
•	H3. Utterances in which I think receives an accent on the verb are perceived as more expansive than utterances with accent on the pronoun, which in turn are perceived as more expansive than utterances with no accent on I think. <br>
<br>
The contributions of this study are both descriptive and theoretical in nature. It is shown that for an accurate description of ENGAGEMENT expressions in conversation, it is necessary to take the prosodic and socio-cognitive dynamic nature of meanings in language use into account (Cruttenden 1997; Du Bois, 2007; Geeraerts et al., 1994; Kärkkäinen, 2003; Paradis, 2003, 2015). We question the APPRAISAL claim that I think is always expansive and the approach itself because of its conception of meaning in language as fixed and its lack of explanatory tools for poly-functionality and meaning shifts. Our results show that I think constructions invoke both EXPANSION and CONTRACTION, and that the interpersonal force of I think constructions rely both on the meanings contributed by the predicates themselves and on contextual factors. Interactions between interlocutor status, prosodic marking and the co-occurrence of other stance markers are shown to have a significant effect on the function of I think, with interlocutor status having the strongest and most consistent effect. <br>
<br>
References<br>
Cruttenden, A. (1997). Intonation (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.<br>
Du Bois, J. W. (2007). The stance triangle. In R. Englebretson (Ed.), Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction (pp. 139–182). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.<br>
Geeraerts, D., Grondelaers, S., &amp; Bakema, P. (1994). The structure of lexical variation: Meaning, naming and context. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.},
  author       = {Paradis, Carita and Fuoli, Matteo and Pöldvere, Nele},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  title        = {The intersubjective role of I think  constructions in conversation : Combining evidence from corpus and experimental techniques},
  year         = {2016},
}