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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 6 Conclusions


Chapter 6Conclusions

This research has focused on two general objectives: (a) to draw clear boundaries between paraphrase, reformulation, conclusion, and correction and (b) to describe the role of discourse markers in establishing reformulation and other functions. The latter objective, in turn, has been linked to the polyfunctionality of discourse markers. These objectives derive from one theoretical problem in the research field of reformulation: neighboring functions such as conclusion, summary, correction, or invalidation are addressed as subtypes of reformulation. Several researchers (see Chapter 2) tend to define such functions as reformulation because of (i) the similarities between them and (ii) the fact that reformulation markers cover meanings based on such other functions— because of their polyfunctionality (Martín Zorraquino & Portolés, 1999; Martín Zorraquino & Montolío, 1998; Martín Zorraquino, 2010; Montolío, 2001). As a result, generalizations are created, and some functions that were originally clearly defined are now quite confusing (see the Pons-Murillo polemic in § 2.3.3.). The defining features of the other functions, on the one hand, and reformulation markers, on the other, are added to the definition of reformulation at the functional level, which loses its accuracy and encompasses other categories.

In order to shed some light on this theoretical problem, the so-called form-function trap (Pons, 2017), this study has proposed an experimental-based approach introducing eye-tracking methods (see Chapter 3). A series of reading experiments based on the eye-mind assumption (Rayner, 1988) have been created (§ 4.1.) to extract measurable cognitive patterns...

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