This paper presents a study into the Hindi-Urdu 'na' as a sentence-final particle. Although also used as a topic marker and negation, 'na' occurs sentence-finally across clause-types. In light of the data, we think the following hypothesis offers the best fit: 'na' signals the speaker’s belief that the content of na’s containing clause is a reasonable inference, given what’s common ground. Notably, in addition to other clause-types, we explore na's distribution in exclamations and exclamatives. We link our work to recent (...) research on the polar question particle 'kya' in Hindi-Urdu. (shrink)
We focus on a sui generis grounding move in Hindi-Urdu dialogue, namely 'voh hi na'. 'Voh' is third person pronoun and can function as a propositional anaphor in dialogue. 'Hi' and 'na' are two discourse particles in Hindi-Urdu. A dataset consisting of minimal pairs of dialogues is presented to get a better sense of the move. Using dynamic models of discourse structure, we propose a semantics for 'voh hi na' in terms of its update effects.
Speech act theorists tend to hold that the illocutionary force of an utterance is determined by one interlocutor alone: either the speaker or the hearer. Yet experience tells us that the force of our utterances is not determined unilaterally. Rather, communication often feels collaborative. In this paper, I develop and defend a collaborative theory of illocutionary force, according to which the illocutionary force of an utterance is determined by an agreement reached by the speaker and the hearer. This theory, which (...) builds upon linguistic and sociological work on adjacency pairs and conversational interaction, can accommodate the complexity of speaker intentions (which may be disjunctive, indeterminate, and/or inconsistent over time), and renders speech act theory more compatible with theories of common ground. (shrink)
Generic generalisations like ‘Opioids are highly addictive’ are very useful in scientific communication, but they can often be interpreted in many different ways. Although this is not a problem when all interpretations provide the same answer to the question under discussion, a problem arises when a generic generalisation is used to answer a question other than that originally intended. In such cases, some interpretations of the generalisation might answer the question in a way that the original speaker would not endorse. (...) Rather than excising generic generalisations from scientific communication, I recommend that scientific communicators carefully consider the kinds of questions their words might be taken to answer and try to avoid phrasing that might be taken to provide unintended answers. (shrink)
This article addresses the question as to whether it is logically possible to fashion a discourse exclusively for the natural environment. Could such a discourse emerge without colonization by other social spheres acting as proxy? The prospects appear to be rather bleak, for even in the case of two apparently non-human-directed or non-committal discourses, that of extensionist ethics and new sophisticated management (of environmental crises), the latent social-constructionism built into both renders them monistic discourses hegemonically mapping the territories of what (...) they refer to. It becomes increasingly difficult to escape the human epistemic locatedness anti-anthropocentric critics demand. Despite this, such an exercise offers us the benefit of being mindful of what the crisis of social-scientific discourses amounts to as well as what to expect of discourse analysis as such. Furthermore, the prospects of the two discourses examined are being mapped onto two modified models drawing on Foucault and Deleuze thus helping us understand the pattern of our diverse environmental responses. Ecological thinking is perhaps the first subject-matter that transcends or shatters discourse boundaries and strains both imagination and human powers when selecting between conceptual frameworks, making us aware of the ineluctable feature of social-constructionism present in our social thought. (shrink)
Is writing a human science? Certainly it is not science as such, despite much specialist knowledge about its strategies, developed by scholarly research going back many years. But what are called the human sciences are not ’sciences’ either; they have simply followed in the wake of the natural sciences and used the same word. And yet it is precisely here, in the equivocal area opened up by the statement ’writing as a human science’, that one of the fundamental questions concerning (...) the relationship of these ’sciences’ to writing is revealed. (shrink)