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Title: Pragmatic Functions of Attitude Markers in Kîîtharaka
Authors: Kîndîkî, Stephen Kîthînji
Keywords: African Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban
Abstract: KîîTharaka is a Bantu language spoken by a minority community in Kenya numbering about 120,000. Attitude markers belong to the broad category of ‘residue’ elements in language commonly called ‘discourse markers’. Alternative terms for discourse markers are: Discourse particles, discourse/speech modifiers, pragmatic markers, pragmatic particles, or discourse operators. As the term ‘attitude’ markers itself suggests, attitude markers may best be defined as a set of expressions in language which the speaker applies to clarify his or her feelings, emotions or views contained in the utterance being made. Attitude markers ‘amplify’ the speakers intended meaning. Moore (2001: 5) observes that English speakers use expressive verbs to convey attitudes to or about a state of affairs e.g. ‘apologize’, ‘appreciate’, ‘congratulate’, ‘deplore’, ‘detest’, ‘regret’, ‘thank’, and ‘welcome’. It is such kind of expressions that are investigated in this research on KîîTharaka. This dissertation highlights on this linguistic phenomenon with the view that to ignore the role played by attitude markers in communicating meaning in KîîTharaka may reduce the accuracy of the speaker’s or the writer’s intended message. Bearing in mind that attitude markers are similar to discourse markers in that both are not part of the conceptual (i.e. the referential) information of the speaker’s utterance, the critical distinction to be made between discourse markers and attitude markers is that unlike discourse markers, attitude markers do not function as connectives i.e. they do not primarily establish discourse cohesion.
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