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May I Quote You on That?

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Academic Paper

Title: Please – from courtesy to appeal: the role of intonation in the expression of attitudinal meaning
Author: Anne Wichmann
Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Semantics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Intonation is known to convey many nuances of meaning, both emotional and attitudinal, but a way of explaining how these meanings arise has so far remained elusive. While some emotions may have direct correlates in a speaker's voice, such correlates are harder to find for attitudinal meanings.

The word please is typically a routine expression of courtesy, but data from the International Corpus of British English (ICE GB) reveals please to be a pragmatic marker with a wide range of expressive functions. This study, which uses a quantitative approach combined with qualitative analysis, has implications for the study of other pragmatic particles, and also provides the basis for the understanding of attitudinal intonation in a wider context.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 9, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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