11th International Pragmatics Conference , 2009-07-13

Title : ( The Discourse Function of Conjunctions in conveying the propositional meaning )

Authors: Zargham Ghabanchi ,

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The Discourse Function of Conjunctions in conveying the propositional meaning This article reports the results of a study and an experiment concerning the discourse function of conjunctions. The procedure of the study is a combination of two steps: analyzing the data, and performing an experiment. The data of the study consists of forty English and Persian texts, written by the subjects of the study who are Ph.D. students studying at the University of Liverpool. The analysis was based on Martin’s (1983) model. The analysis shows that the Persian speakers use fewer connectors in their writing, and it reveals that the Persians have a smaller group of conjunctions at their disposal. The experiment is conducted with two versions of one text and a group of fourteen subjects. The purpose of the experiment is to find out, firstly, whether the deletion of connectors would change the propositional and discourse content of the text and impair its readability and secondly, how native speakers of both languages react to the appropriateness of alternative versions of a text with and without connectors. The first phase of this experiment is carried out by asking the subjects to fill in blanks with appropriate connectors. In the second phase, the subjects are asked to respond to a modified version of the text (the text with deleted connectors, but without blanks). The subjects are asked to add connectors as they might feel necessary. The results depict a considerable diversity in the responses of the Persian subjects. One of the Persian subjects did not add any connector, and another one select finally for the first blank which is rather incongruent. However, there are fewer diversities in English. Concerning the second phase, there are variations in the responses. Two English speaking and one Persian do not add any connector. Generally speaking the subjects add fewer connectors compared with original text. The result that the text versions without connectors are felt to be readable and clear seems to support the view that connectors are not necessarily crucial to expressing the propositional, and discourse content of a message. It was found that the English subjects by elaborating on the ongoing text they show their awareness of the text as a medium of interaction with the reader. An elaboration on a description in the text seems either to anticipate a question that might arise in a reader\'s mind, or to raise an issue on behalf of the reader. This shows a closer reader/writer relationship in English compared with Persian. it seems that the system of writing in Persian places more responsibility on readers whereas in English the responsibility is on the writers. In Persian, the writer is not required to create unity overtly in the text as s/he is in English, but can do it by subtle means requiring more involvement from the reader. In other words, it seems that the onus of successful writing in English is more writer based whereas in Persian is a reader based one.


, Key words: Discourse Function, Conjunctions, propositional meaning, system of writing.
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author = {Ghabanchi, Zargham},
title = {The Discourse Function of Conjunctions in conveying the propositional meaning},
booktitle = {11th International Pragmatics Conference},
year = {2009},
location = {ملبورن, AUSTRALIA},
keywords = {Key words: Discourse Function; Conjunctions; propositional meaning; system of writing.},


%0 Conference Proceedings
%T The Discourse Function of Conjunctions in conveying the propositional meaning
%A Ghabanchi, Zargham
%J 11th International Pragmatics Conference
%D 2009