Newsmarks as an Interactional Resource for Indexing Remarkability: A Qualitative Analysis of Arabic waḷḷāhi and English really

Michal Marmorstein, Beatrice Szczepek Reed

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Abstract

This paper presents a study of Arabic waḷḷāhi (lit. ‘by God’) and English really when they are used interactionally as newsmarks. The literature has claimed that the role of newsmarks in conversation is to treat prior talk as news, to open up a slot for further talk, to express doubt or disbelief, and to implement requests for confirmation. A close analysis of waḷḷāhi and really shows that they do not necessarily follow the patterns described by previous research. Instead, the data suggest that newsmarks primarily contribute to the construction of prior talk as remarkable, that is, tellable and noteworthy; and that some previously described functions are epiphenomenal of this more basic property. The data are recordings of naturally occurring everyday conversations in British English and Egyptian Arabic, with English translations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-273
JournalContrastive Pragmatics
Volume5
Early online date13 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

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