Not a study of English! A corpus analysis of discourse features in spoken Burmese
Keywords:discourse features in spoken Burmese, Burmese, Corpus Linguistics, Particles
This paper is part of a larger research project on the ‘Comparative analysis of discourse markers in Burmese and in English’, and the product of my attempt to identify so-called particles in Burmese in terms of their discourse functions. Particles are bound morphemes, many of which do not have one-to-one equivalents in English. In traditional grammars, these lexical items are usually described in terms of their syntactic distribution: these studies present different kinds of sentential environments, but often fall short of a systematic generalization describing their semantic or pragmatic properties. A corpus-based study of spoken Burmese in different genres, within the framework of Discourse Analysis, suggests that particles often have prominent discourse functions, and many are in fact used primarily for their discourse functions in natural spoken discourse, in which propositional meaning remains the same with or without the particles.