The use of interjections as a discourse phenomenon: A contrastive study of Chuvash (Turkic) and Wan (Mande)


This study describes and compares two conventionalized uses of interjections in traditional narratives in Chuvash and Wan. First, interjections are shown to be associated with a quotative function: they serve to signal instances of reported speech. The use of interjections interacts with the grammatical marking of reported speech: the presence of an interjection correlates negatively with the presence of a grammaticalized quotative element. Second, in Chuvash, but not in Wan, interjections serve to introduce descriptions of events of special intensity or duration. We relate the absence of an intensifying use in Wan to competition between interjections and functionally similar ideophones. Both discourse phenomena involving interjections shed light on the interaction between interjections and language specific grammatical and lexical resources.

(under review)
Leonardo Contreras Roa
Leonardo Contreras Roa
Associate Professor in English Phonetics and Phonology

Phonetician and English teacher, PhD in Linguistics