off-clauses with a reasoning function

Example (16) shows an extended version of example (2) which was discussed in the introduction. In the example, S and V are talking to their mother (U) about their schedule at school. S, who is V’s older sister, is describing a particular teacher (Birgitta), of whom she does not seem to be very fond.

  • (16) Sculpture class (GRIS: Wallenberg; Anward 2003; U = mother,
  • S = daughter, V = son)
  • 1 S: Birgitta hon har sadar eh kan ingenting.

Birgitta she has like knows nothing

‘Birgitta, she has like knows nothing’

  • 2 (0.8)
  • 3 S: [hon har skulptur: a sa [sen sa sajer hon=

she has sculpture and then then so says she

‘she teaches sculpture class and then she says’

4 U: [naha. [jaha.


‘oh oh’

5 S: .hhh ^prataФ me min O- .hh min eh bror O::scar;

talk with my my brother Oscar

‘talk to my to my brother Oscar’ ((artificial voice))

6 U: ^jasa de e hon: jaha.

PRT it is she PRT ‘oh it’s her I see’

  • (0.6)
  • -$7 V: jaha att da ska ja’nte: valja henne i Фskulptur:

PRT ATT then shall I not choose her in sculpture

‘okay, so I’m not choosing her for sculpture class, then’

In line 1, S says that Birgitta, the teacher, knows nothing. She then goes on to say that Birgitta teaches sculpture and says “talk to my brother” (lines 3, 5).

Her mother (U) reacts to this by concluding jasa de e hon: jaha ‘oh it’s her I see’ in line 6. After a 0.6 long pause S’ brother V takes the floor and draws the conclusion jaha att da ska ja’nte: valja henne i skulptur ‘okay, so I’m not choosing her for sculpture class, then’. This conclusion is presented in the form of a syntactically independent att-clause which is preceded by the response particle jaha ‘okay’.

In a similar way as the examples discussed in section 4 above, the syntactically independent att-clause in example (16) clearly relates to something said in the preceding discourse. However, in contrast to the att-clauses discussed in section 4, the att-clause in example (16), does not rephrase something that has been said. Instead, it expresses a consequence of what another speaker has said. In the example, att has the same meaning as the complex connective sa att ‘so (that)’ (cf. example 7b in section 3; Lindstrom and Londen 2008). The relationship of the att-clause here to the preceding discourse is thus clearly different from the examples discussed in section 4. It could be described as follows:

person x is y ^ [so] I should not choose x [drawing a conclusion]

Example (17) shows a case in which a speaker draws a conclusion based on what she has just said herself. In the example, which is from the same meeting within a youth organization as example (12), speaker H uses a syntactically independent att-clause to expand her description of the so-called Cable Factory, that is, the cultural centre where the youth organization is considering organizing a party.

(17) Party at The cable factory (SAM:M2; Lehti-Eklund 2002: 6; R = chair person,

H = participant at annual meeting)

1 H: men den e den e nog enorm (.) de e [liksom fem meter ti

but it is it is prt huge it is like five meters to

‘but it’s huge, it’s like five meters to’

2 R: [ja



-}03 H: take °eller naga sant° att de sku liksom va:

the ceiling or something like that att it should like be

‘the ceiling or something like that so it would have to be’

-}04 smockfullt me manniskor for att de ska bli (naga)=.

packed with people in order to that it would become something

‘packed with people in order for it to work’

In line 1, speaker H says that the space in the Cable Factory is huge. She then elaborates on this by saying that it is five meters to the ceiling “or something like that”. Having said this, she continues with a syntactically unintegrated att-clause and says att de sku liksom va: smockfullt me manniskor for att de ska bli naga ‘so it would have to be packed with people in order for it to work’. The att-clause here expresses a consequence of the fact that the Cable Factory is huge: in order for the party to be a success, the place would have to be packed with people.

The fact that the att-clause in example (17) is used to elaborate something said makes it partly similar to the att-clauses discussed in section 4, which also clarify, specify or emphasize something said. However, just like the att-clause in example (16), the att-clause in example (17) does not paraphrase something already said; rather it presents a consequence of what has just been said. Instead of specifying or modifying a word or clause, the att-clause expands the line of reasoning. H points out that there has to be a lot of people at the party if

it is to be organized at the Cable Factory (since the space there is so huge). The

relationship between the att-clause and the context in which it occurs could be presented as follows:

place x is y ^ [so] there must be z in x in order to... [Presenting a prerequisite]

Example (18) from a group discussion about music and music styles shows a slightly different use of an att-clause with a reasoning function. In the example, the high school students participating in the discussion are answering the moderator’s questions about whether they listen to music on CDs or on tapes.

  • (18) CDs are better (GSM: 5; K3, K4, K5, K6 = female high school students)
  • 1 K5: men de e anda trakigt (0.7) me band ocksa

but it is still tedious with tapes also

‘but it is also tedious with tapes as well’

  • ((four lines omitted))
  • 2 K4: na- nar man har band sa e de en lat sa vet man inte

whe- when one has tapes so is it one song then knows one not ‘wh- when one has a tape it’s one song, then one doesn’t’

3 pa vicken lat man e sa ska man sp- [ja de- nej de e-] on what song one is so has one pl- yes it- no it is- ‘know what song one is on, then one has to pl-, yes i- no it is’

4 K3: [a: de e otymp]ligt e de (.)

prt it is unconvinient is it ‘yes it is unconvienient it is’

5 da e [de battre] me CD [men anda () ]

then is it better with CD but still

‘so it’s better with CDs but still’

6 K5: [a: ]



-97 K6: [att man liksom kan] (.) hoppa (lit-) till

att one prt can jump litt- to ‘that one like can skip a litt-(le) to’

  • 8 liksom (.) den la[ten som e sist] nar man e pa forsta typ prt that song which is last when one is on first prt ‘like the song which is last when one is like on the first one’
  • 9 K3: [mm-m ]
  • 10 ?: mm-m
  • (0.2)
  • 11 K5: men de e ju mest sana som har en speciell musiksmak da

but it is prt mostly those who have a special music taste prt ‘but it’s those who have a special music taste’

12 som koper skiver who buy records ‘who buy records’

At the beginning of the extract shown in the example, K5 says that tapes are tedious. K4 elaborates on this in lines 2-3 when she points out that you do not know where you are on tapes. K3 agrees with K4 (line 4) and states that it is better with CDs (line 5). This line of thought is then picked up by K6 who presents an argument for why it is better with CDs: you can skip, for example, from the first song to the last. When she presents this argument in lines 7-8, she uses a syntactically non-integrated att-clause. The att-clause expresses the benefit of choosing CDs. Just like all the att-clauses discussed in sections 4 and 5, this att-clause elaborates on something just said in the discourse. However, rather than rephrasing something in the way that the att-clauses analyzed in section 4

do, the att-clause in example (18) extends the line of thought. This is similar to the way the other att-clauses discussed in this section function: K6 presents a reason for why it is better to use CDs.

it is better with y than x ^ [because] you can do z [Presenting an argument]

It could, however, be argued that the att-clause in example (18) also explicates something in the preceding discourse (why CDs are better) in a way that is similar to, for example, the att-clause in example (13) (see above). The difference between the two types of att-clauses, att-clauses with a paraphrasing function and att-clauses with a reasoning function, can thus be rather subtle. Is there then a large enough difference between the two types that they need to be analyzed as two different types of constructions? Or are we dealing with two different types of uses of the same construction? This question will be discussed in the next section.

To summarize, the syntactically independent att-clauses discussed in this section show similarities to the examples discussed in section 4 in the sense that they elaborate a topic under discussion. The att-clauses in this section, however, introduce a new perspective rather than specify information that has already been presented. Furthermore, all the att-clauses in this section draw conclusions based on something said whereas the att-clauses in section 4 rephrase a specific word, phrase or clause. As the last example shows, the difference between att-clauses with a rephrasing and reasoning function respectively, is, however, sometimes rather subtle.

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