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Discourse Reflexivity - A Discourse Universal? The Case of ELF


Anna Mauranen

University of Helsinki, FI
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This paper is concerned with metadiscourse, or discourse reflexivity, as a fundamental property of human communication. It assumes that lingua franca evidence is useful for discovering essential, possibly universal aspects of discourse, since participants must adapt to highly diverse and unpredictable circumstances while maintaining communicative efficiency. Metadiscourse is clearly not a feature speakers can dispense with, as is seen in the study reported here. Since ELF speakers cannot rely on much shared linguistic or cultural knowledge with their interlocutors, they need to secure mutual understanding by explicitness strategies, such as discourse reflexivity. This study shows that analysing interaction in dialogic speech events reveal important uses of metadiscourse that have not surfaced in earlier studies, which have used written monologues as their principal source of data. A much more prominent ‘other-orientedness‘, or orientation towards intercolutors, is evident in dialogue than in monologic language. The tendency of discourse reflexivity to collocate with hedges is also supported here.

How to Cite: Mauranen, A., 2010. Discourse Reflexivity - A Discourse Universal? The Case of ELF. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 9(2), pp.13–40. DOI:
Published on 04 May 2010.


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