Ludmila Urbanová: On Expressing Meaning in English Conversation. Semantic Indeterminacy

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An original Czech output in the area of conversation analysis, discourse analysis and pragmatics is relatively scarce and is mostly limited to journal papers, therefore the appearance of Ludmila Urbanová's monograph is most welcome. In her own words the primary objective of her research is a comparison between indeterminacy phenomena in different conversation genres, namely face-to-face exchange, telephone conversation and radio interviews. Her material is drawn from the corpus of spoken text (A Corpus of English Conversation, Dpt. of English Section of the Survey of Spoken English, Lund University). The manifestations of semantic indeterminacy (SI henceforth) examined include indirectness, impersonality, attenuation, accentuation and vagueness. Wider theoretical aspects relating to her topic are dealt with in three introductory chapters, though references to theoretical issues run through the whole text and appear also in the next five chapters devoted to each of the SI phenomena. The study winds up with an attempt to outline the principles of systematic description of the indeterminacy patterns and related manifestations that could result in a grammar-based approach.


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STENSTRÖM, A. B.: Questions and Responses in English Conversation. In: Lund Studies in English 68, Lund, 1984.
CHANNELLl, J.: Vague Language. Oxford University Press, 1994.