Understanding Contrastive Conjunctions as Discourse Markers in Bilingual Discourse

Baltazar Sanchez III

In multilingual settings, speakers use several languages at the same time; this type of discourse is known as code-switching, where speakers may make switches at any point in their conversation between different codes, or languages. Many studies focus on the rules— or constraints, depending on the author’s approach— involved in this type of discourse while some describe the functions of such multilingual language use, in particular the pragmatic and/or conversational effects. The focus of this paper is insertional code-switching, which is a type of code-switching in which single words are inserted as opposed to entire phrases, as a type of discourse marker in conversations between bilingual individuals, in particular with the English word “but” and its Spanish equivalent pero. The inspiration for this comes from Gardner-Chloros, Charles & Cheshire’s (2000) discussion of code-switching in discourse as a further dimension to what may be classified as monolingual discourse marker. More specifically, this paper focuses on managing the conversational floor through contrastive conjunctions— English “but” and Spanish pero. After analyzing cases and data compiled from an online corpus, it becomes clear that contrastive conjunctions have multiple functions, which is a feature that is highlighted once these discourse markers are considered in the environment of code-switches in bilingual discourse. The findings contribute to the current understanding on discourse markers specifically and code-switching more generally, both of which intersect in establishing common ground between speakers.

 

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Pattern Differences Between Voices Across Sina Weibo and Their Indications on Speakers’ Sociolinguistic Ideologies

Wenqian Guo

This study investigates how and why a specific speaker’s linguistic behavioral patterns may differ across channels on the same social media platform. Specifically, this research addresses important components in conversations, such as grammaticality and illocutionary indications, as well as the emoji feature that is exclusive to online media, the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo in this case. Through comparing speakers’ comments between posts on the state-controlled People’s Daily Weibo channel and the “super-topic” free discussion forum on social, cultural, and political events, it is clear that the topics being addressed and the functions that different channels serve in each case, respectively, contribute to the speakers’ different perceptions of these channels. Additionally, from individual speakers’ responses in interviews during the study, the special censorship nature of social media in China and the exclusively superior accessibility of state-controlled media also complicate speakers’ linguistic choices, emphasizing their consideration of locating “safety” and practical usefulness on social media. As there remains limited previous research focusing on this specific area, this research hopes to offer new insights on exploring sociolinguistic ideologies embedded in Mandarin online communication.

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