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Pro-adverbs of manner as markers of activity transition

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This paper explores the phenomenon that pro-adverbs of manner are cross-linguistically used to mark transitions from one activity to another. In Estonian, the pro-adverb nii is used for this purpose. Among Estonian refugees in Sweden, an activity transition is frequently marked with soo. Both nii and soo originally had the same semantic meaning ‘like this/that, in this way, so’, even though soo merely in its source language German. The article argues that the deictic pro-adverbs of manner are especially suitable for the task of marking activity transitions because they can be applied at the boundaries of verbal as well as non-verbal activities. The reason for the existence of this pattern seems to lie in the general necessity in human interaction to jointly move from one activity to another and the exophoric deictic capacity of pro-adverbs. The study explores audio- and video-recorded examples with regard to the sequencing of social actions accomplished by the participants in the verbal as well as the bodily domain.
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Keywords: Estonian; discourse markers; interactional linguistics; manner adverbs; non-verbal interaction; pragmatic particles

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 13, 2010

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