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An attempt to get access to a speaker’s mind: The expectation marker actually in spoken conversation
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The use of the expectation marker actually in spoken conversation is an interesting topic. This study investigates the different functions of actually and the importance of context in eight spoken conversations from the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English. The chosen conversations are different when it comes to social factors like the participants’ age or gender.

The interactions are studied using Karin Aijmer’s suggested functions of actually. Aijmer divides the expectation marker into two major functions: contrastive and emphatic. Basically, the contrastive actually functions as an opposition between points of views, and the empathic actually is used to justify or explain an earlier statement.

The method used for the study is of a qualitative character as I study the interactions thoroughly both by listening to the conversations as well as studying the available transcript versions of the interactions.

Overall, the study shows that emphatic actually is most common in the data used, and it is mainly used to explain or justify something or as a marker of a participant’s style of speech. In other words, actually is more often used as a way to underline an utterance rather than to correct or make a contrast to another participant’s statement. Actually is often used as a marker of style, a way for a speaker to signal or mark a specific style of speech.

All of the conversations are taken from everyday life and should therefore be considered unprepared. When it comes to context it seems as if actually is more frequently used in conversations between participants close in age and who are involved in a closer sort of relationship, for example cousins or a couple in a love relationship. As for gender, actually is used by both women and by men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 22 p.
Keyword [en]
pragmatics, discourse particles, actually, context
National Category
Humanities Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-27633OAI: diva2:784456
Subject / course
Available from: 2015-03-04 Created: 2015-01-29 Last updated: 2015-03-04Bibliographically approved

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