A study of dialogic expansion and contraction in spoken discourse using corpus and experimental techniques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines the dialogic functions of EXPANSION and CONTRACTION of first-person epistemic and evidential Complement-Taking Predicate (CTP) constructions, such as I think COMPLEMENT, I suppose COMPLEMENT and I know COMPLEMENT, in spoken discourse. It combines corpus and experimental methods (i) to investigate whether CTP constructions are used to open up the dialogic space for new ideas or counterarguments, or to fend off alternative views, and (ii) to identify what contextual factors play a role in determining the dialogic force of the constructions. First, an exploratory analysis of CTP constructions in the London-Lund Corpus (LLC) of spoken British English is carried out with the aim to identify important contextual factors and generate hypotheses about their dialogic effects. Then, a laboratory experiment is conducted to test the impact of the three most prominent factors for speakers' interpretations of utterances containing CTPs. The results indicate that CTP constructions do not only serve to expand the dialogic context in which they occur, but also to restrict alternative views. Interlocutor status, the co-occurrence of other stance markers and prosodic marking of first-person CTP are shown to have a significant effect on the dialogic function of the expressions. These findings call into question some claims in APPRAISAL theory about the role of CTP constructions in discourse, and highlight the need for a flexible approach to the analysis of these poly-functional stance expressions.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Stance, complement-taking predicates, epistemic modality, evidentiality, evaluation, intersubjectivity, prosody, Appraisal, inter-coder agreement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-225
Number of pages35
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch

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