Towards a corpus pragmatics of ELF through semi-automated annotation systems


Abstract – The present paper illustrates an undergoing doctoral research project (Centonze, forthcoming) aimed at introducing a novel approach to the description of spoken discourse in ELF in migration settings which combines corpus linguistics, corpus pragmatics (Aijmer and Rühlemann 2015) – a relatively new research area in the field of language and discourse studies – with the most recent techniques of quantitative/qualitative analysis and corpus annotation by means of semi-automated software tools. More specifically, the project focuses on the pragmatic annotation of speech acts from an ELF perspective and on the analysis of speech acts in their frequencies and collocations in a study corpus by means of DART (the Dialogue Annotation Research Tool v. 1.1., Weisser 2015), i.e. a research tool which, among other things, includes the functions of both POS (Part-Of-Speech) tagging and pragmatic annotation of spoken discourse. The corpus which is being taken into consideration is an under-construction corpus which will be referred to as the ELF MiDo Corpus (English as a Lingua Franca in MIgration DOmains corpus) and consists of over 50,000 words of conversation between asylum seekers and intercultural mediators in symmetrical contexts of interaction. All the different corpus interviews and interactions are transcribed and annotated according to a basic .XML mark-up scheme which proved to be a necessary condition for the whole corpus to be properly scanned for analysis through the DART interface. The aim of the present research study is to assess – by illustrating two case studies taken from the corpus – the use of DART for the pragmatic description of discourse in ELF and to verify the extent to which (semi-)automated software tools like this can effectively capture pragmatic change in interactional settings.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v24p139

Keywords: ELF; corpus pragmatics; DART; speech acts; pragmatic annotation


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