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Reframing Reformulation: A Theoretical-Experimental Approach

Evidence from the Spanish Discourse Marker "o sea"


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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Chapter 1 Reformulation and reformulation discourse markers: The form-function trap


Chapter 1Reformulation and reformulation discourse markers: The form-function trap


Defining reformulation exclusively by its markers can lead to descriptions based on the functions they express. Reformulation markers do not only express reformulation but also conclusion, correction, explanation, etc. When markers are the only means of organization, these other functions can be improperly classified as subtypes of reformulation and the limits between functions become blurred. This is the basis of the “form-function trap” (Pons, 2017), which is a semasiological intrusion into the onomasiological field.

This chapter focuses on the development of the form-function trap to understand what it is and how it works (see Chapter 2). Two questions need to be answered:

(a)Why the polyfunctionality of discourse markers provokes a loss of theoretical boundaries of reformulation?

(b)When did researchers begin to describe reformulation with reformulation markers?

The following sections approach these research questions:

-Section § 1.1. accounts for the polyfunctionality of discourse markers (§ 1.1.1.) as a trigger of the form-function trap, especially in reformulation markers (§ 1.1.2.).

-Section § 1.2. focuses on reformulation markers and their role in studies on reformulation via a critical review of representative publications in the field. These works show the changes in the definition of reformulation: first works offer clear definitions for this function (§ 1.2.1.); some works show small changes toward a more semasiological approach (§ 1.2.2.); and, finally, works published in the early 1990s use definitions determined by reformulation markers...

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