The Use of Perspective Markers and Connectives in Expressing Subjectivity: Evidence from Collocational Analyses

Yipu Wei, Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul, Ted J.M. Sanders


This study explores how subjectivity is expressed in coherence relations, by means of a distinctive collocational analysis on two Chinese causal connectives: the specific subjective kejian ‘so’, used in subjective argument-claim relations, and the underspecified suoyi ‘so’, which can be used in both subjective argument-claim and objective cause-consequence relations. On the basis of both Horn’s pragmatic Relation and Quality principles and the Uniform Information Density Theory, we hypothesized that the presence of other linguistic elements expressing subjectivity in a discourse segment should be related the degree of subjectivity encoded by the connective. In line with this hypothesis, the association scores showed that suoyi is more frequently combined with perspective markers expressing epistemic stance: cognition verbs and modal verbs. Kejian, which already expresses epistemic stance, co-occurred more often with perspective markers related to attitudinal stance, such as markers of expectedness and importance. The paper also pays attention to similarities and differences in collocation patterns across contexts and genres.

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www.dialogue-and-discourse.orgISSN: 2152-9620   Journal doi: 10.5087/dad