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Exemplifications, Selections and Argumentations

The Use of Example Markers in English and German

Ekkehard Eggs and Dermot McElholm

This linguistic research monograph focuses primarily on the uses of example markers or connectors in English (for example, for instance, such as etc.) and, to a lesser extent, in German ([so] zum Beispiel, beispielsweise etc.). It analyses these uses not only from a linguistics viewpoint (syntax, semantics, pragmatics, information and text structure, intonation) but also integrates issues of rhetoric, philosophy and, in particular, of argumentation theory. This approach leads to the distinction of three main uses of example markers − exemplification, selection, argumentation − and thus entails the abandonment of the traditional grammatical approach, which only recognizes exemplifying use, and of the more recent approach in computational linguistics, which only distinguishes selective use.


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1 Introduction


It seems to be the case that the frequency with which a linguistic expression is used is inversely proportional to the number of linguistic analyses of this expression. Indeed, there are virtually no systematic linguistic studies of the use of these ubi- quitous example markers in German and English. This lack of relevant linguistics studies1 explains the fact that the distinctions drawn in standard grammars and teaching materials tend to remain rather vague and general, if not imprecise. Thus in various grammars a distinction is drawn be- tween restatement (in other words, or rather, that is (to say), namely) and exem- plification (for example, for instance)2, while in other grammars these two proce- dures are dealt with together (cf. Cowan 2008).3 Cowan gives the following expla- nation: “Discourse connectors of exemplification and restatement signal that infor- mation following in some way clarifies the information that preceded […]. The most common connectors of exemplification are for example and for instance. Namely and that is can introduce examples if these are followed by an expression such as and so on.” (p. 618). It is of course not wrong to say that example markers in many cases such as in (1), where the example marker is used in an enumerative apposition4, do involve the use of an ‘exemplifying restatement’5: 1 A typical example of such a study is that of Hyland 2007, 278ff., who lists the following “exemplification markers” without distinguishing between them: such as, for example, e.g., an example of, like...

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