Pragmatic functions of ‘sort of’ in Persian

Parvaresh, Vahid and Sheikhan, Sayyed A. (2019) Pragmatic functions of ‘sort of’ in Persian. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 29 (1). pp. 86-110. ISSN 1569-9838

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It goes without saying that as a pragmatic phenomenon, vagueness has over the past few years been a topic of extensive research. However, a huge gap still exists when it comes to the investigation of how vagueness is expressed across different languages and cultures. In the present study, we have put under scrutiny the pragmatic functions of ‘sort of’, a vague expression, in Persian conversation with a view to making cross-linguistic comparisons between different languages possible. Besides confirming the fact that the vague item ‘sort of’ enables interactants to fulfil a wide variety of functions in interactional settings, particularly in face-to-face interactions, the current study reveals that the expression in question can also serve to signal ‘a moment of awkwardness’ as well as the presence of ‘inferable information’. With the former function, ‘sort of’ signals that the speaker is experiencing a feeling of inconvenience and embarrassment. When used as an inferable information signal, however, ‘sort of’ indicates that the utterance has been inferred from the previous or current exchange.

Item Type: Journal Article
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 15:55
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:55

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