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Reframing Reformulation: A Theoretical-Experimental Approach

Evidence from the Spanish Discourse Marker "o sea"

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Shima Salameh Jiménez

Reformulation studies offer a recent debate on reformulation and its semasiological-onomasiological treatment. Some researchers argue for a clear distinction between reformulation and other functions such as conclusion or correction; others defend the existence of different subtypes of reformulation based on such other functions, which are expressed by the same group of discourse markers in different languages. Both approaches are valid although their arguments and theoretical basis are opposed. The book presents an Eye-Tracking proposal to complement this debate experimentally. Results support an onomasiological approach to reformulation since experimental boundaries for each function (paraphrase, reformulation, conclusion and correction) have been detected.

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A recent debate on reformulation and its semasiological-onomasiological treatment has become the focus of different studies published in the field. Some researchers argue for a clear distinction between reformulation and other functions such as conclusion or correction (Pons, 2013, 2017); others defend the existence of different subtypes of reformulation based on such other functions which, in turn, are expressed by the same group of discourse markers in different languages (Murillo, 2016). The former approach goes from onomasiology to semasiology: reformulation, paraphrase, conclusion and correction are four distinguishable functions which can be expressed by the same discourse markers; however, this does not mean that all of them are subtypes of their predominant function (reformulation in reformulation markers) (Pons, 2013). Rather, this shows the polyfunctionality behind these markers (Pons, 2017). The latter is a semasiological-onomasiological approach: conclusion and correction are reformulation subtypes because most of the reformulation markers express them in various languages (Murillo, 2016). This fact suggests the relationship they share, which goes beyond discourse marker’s polysemy.

Both approaches are valid despite their arguments and theoretical basis being the opposite. Researchers follow one or another depending on the type of study developed. This situation, however, should be clarified: theoretically, no answers can be proposed as definitive. As a result, reformulation has lost its defining boundaries: are reformulation, conclusion, and correction as similar as their discourse markers seem to demonstrate? Is it possible to find distinguishing features? This book presents an eye-tracking experimental proposal to solve these problems...

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