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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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3 The argumentative use of example markers

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Concerning the argumentative use of example markers we have not, up to now, distinguished the different forms of inference. As (1) shows, example markers can be used in abductions where the host sentence functions as a premise for the statement made in the left sentence, or they occur in deductions, as in (2), where they mark the conclusion:79 (1) Peter is a real sportsman (p): thus, for example, he congratulated his opponent John on his victory (q). (2) Peter is a real sportsman (p): thus, for example, he is likely to congratulate his opponent John on his victory (q). We need to distinguish from the above a second group of argumentative uses in which as in (3) the host sentence includes at least one individual case on the ba- sis of which the validity of a previously posited general thesis is illustrated, i.e. it is retrospectively inductively justified, or where as in (4) inferences are made analogically from one element of equal rank to another: (3) Many people experience considerable harm or suffering caused by other indi- viduals, without defining themselves as victims. For example, Elizabeth, who is very religious, has long been a victim of domestic violence, but she still con- siders herself responsible. (4) We need God’s protection just as, for example, a sheep needs the protection of the shepherd from the dangers that surround it.80 Since both groups differ in terms of logic, epistemology, syntax and discourse structure, we will treat them separately. 79 For the...

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