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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Discourse particles and the syntax of discourse-evidence from Miesbach Bavarian Thoma, Sonja Christine


This dissertation is concerned with the form, function, and distribution of discourse particles in Miesbach Bavarian. These elements are commonly considered in either semantic, pragmatic, or discourse analytic terms. This current investigation explores the interaction between form, meaning, and distribution of discourse particles, their syntax. I show that discourse particles in Bavarian are constructed, and discourse particles therefore should not be considered as a primitive. ‘Discourse particle’, as I show in this dissertation, is the effect of a unit of language with an invariable core meaning (among them scalar and deictic core meanings) when it associates with a discourse functional syntactic layer that represents the discourse participants’ epistemic states. The claims of this dissertation are empirical at the core; I show conversational data from the Miesbach Bavarian dialect of German that provides the need to distinguish three classes of discourse particles (DPRTs); speaker oriented, addressee oriented, and other oriented DPRTs. I present an analysis that proposes these three classes to be the result of an association with different discourse participants (speaker, addressee, or other). This association serves to ground propositions. In order to model this grounding function of those items interpreted as DPRTs, I make use of the Universal Spine Hypothesis, a framework proposed by Wiltschko (2014). I extend Wiltschko's Universal Spine to include the participant anchor with the projection GroundP.

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