A semantic and pragmatic analysis of the Gã Discourse Markers ni and shi : a relevance-theoretic perspective
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In the last three decades, linguistic inquiry into the discourse-pragmatic functions of pragmatic particles, especially discourse markers, across diverse languages has become prevalent. In this vein, the current study explored the semantics and pragmatics of two Gã (Niger-Congo, Kwa branch) discourse markers, ni and shi. Specifically, the study sought to ascertain the linguistically/semantically encoded meanings of the discourse markers as well as their pragmatically/inferentially-derived meanings. A corpus of ni and shi was compiled for the study and Sperber and Wilson’s (1995) Relevance Theory was the theoretical thrust on which the study was hinged.