But, but me no buts: A Corpus-Driven Comparison of Contrastive Markers in Interpreted and Non-Interpreted Policy Speeches in English

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Abstract

The rendition of political speeches and political interpreting usually involves the employment of high-level pragmatic competence. In this regard, the appropriate use and rendition of contrastive markers (CMs), i.e., the linguistic indicator that may signal propositions unfavourable or contrastive to people’s presuppositions, form part of an important pragmatic strategy. Nevertheless, little empirical evidence has been provided as to how CMs are and should be rendered in political speeches and their interpreting. This study, therefore, aims to investigate and compare the employment of two frequently used CMs, however and but, in interpreted and non-interpreted policy speeches in English. Datasets in the Chinese/English Political Interpreting Corpus (CEPIC), consisting of speeches delivered by top government officials in or interpreted into English, were employed for the purpose of the study. Findings of the study suggest that the use of the two CMs displays different patterns in interpreter speeches and politician speeches, and in speeches delivered in a monologue mode and a dialogue mode. The pragmatic implications and possible triggers were further explored through examining the top collocates of the CMs. Findings of the study shed new light on issues relating to representativeness and sanction, or authority and acceptability of political speeches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-77
Number of pages37
JournalTranslation Quarterly
Volume107
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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