Signals of metapragmatic awareness in internet-mediated discourses
Keywords:metapragmatic awareness, types of metapragmatic signals, internet-mediated discourse, functional pragmatics
This paper offers an investigation of signals of metapragmatic awareness on the basis of the background assumptions of functional pragmatics. In this framework, metapragmatic awareness means the reflexive attitudes of discourse participants to various linguistic constructions and to the cognitive processes and socio-cultural expectations related to them. By employing a variety of metapragmatic signals, speakers can reflect on their own or their interlocutors’ current activity as message senders and/or addressees, or that of third parties, as well as on the organization of the discourse. The paper focuses on the types of metapragmatic signals. The empirical material is provided by two genres of computer-mediated Hungarian communication: thematically unrestricted and thematically restricted topics. As a result of an analysis of two connected samples of 200 and 500 contributions, respectively, fourteen types of metapragmatic signals have been differentiated, depending on what the given reflections are aimed at, and proportions of their types have been compared across the two samples. The analysis confirmed the claim that metapragmatic signals operate in narrative discourses as background items and reflect on the organization of the referential scene in the largest number of cases, whereas in spontaneous written conversations, they are far more in the foreground of attention and tend to refer to some aspect of the shared scene of attention.
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