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A corpus-based exploration of conditional markers in Afrikaans: as, indien, sou

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conference contribution
posted on 2024-01-30, 13:08 authored by Lande Botha, Karien van den Berg

Truth-conditionals content of linguistic constructions have been explored by a range of scholars from diverse perspectives, including psychology, cognitive linguistics, semantics, and pragmatics. These constructions are characterised by their "polyfunctional discourse-pragmatic nature" (Rothchild, 2015). Despite extensive research on conditional constructions, there remains a notable gap in studies on conditionals and pragmatic functions based on corpora (Mwamzandi, 2017; Lastres-Lopez, 2020; Gabrielatos, 2021; Reuneker, 2023). Furthermore, the majority of research has focused on conditional constructions in English or European languages, with minimal attention given to other languages (Nicolle, 2017: 1). Some research has been conducted on conditionals in Bantu-languages (Lepota, 2002; Taljard & Louwrens, 2003; Saloné, 1979; 1983; Nicolle, 2017; Kawalya, De Schryver & Bostoen, 2018). However, apart from Messerschmidt and Messerschmidt's study on the indien-construction in academic writing (2011, 2012), there has been a lack of recent work on the versatile uses of conditionals in Afrikaans. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide a corpus-based description of conditional constructions in conversational Afrikaans, starting from the typical lexical markers of condition, namely as and indien. Data are sampled from a web commentary corpus. At the linguistic level, we take modality and polarity marking accompanying the conditional into account. A comprehensive exploration of conditional constructions in Afrikaans could enhance our understanding of the relationship between form and function. Moreover, this research might have practical implications for pedagogical and forensic purposes, aligning with the growing body of research on threats as a linguistic phenomenon (Chiluwa, 2017; Vladimirou & House, 2018; Terkourafi et al., 2018).

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