Linguistic Anthropology

The study of language has been part of anthropology since the discipline started in the 1ate 1870s. This site is a place for linguistic anthropologists to post their work and discuss important events and trends in the field.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I don't know, you know? Discourse markers and knowledge claims

Anyone doing work on discourse markers in English might want to look at Greta Van Susteren's recent interview with Bristol Palin. I find the use of the discourse markers 'you know', 'I don't know', and 'I guess' interesting, especially compared with the actual knowledge claims in the exchange. Here is a sample; the transcript is from, emphasis added.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it always is sort of a difficult thing, you know, when it's a question of youth, and no one ever really knows what to say to a young person in your situation.

BRISTOL: Yes. I don't know. I just -- I hope that people learn from my story and just, like, I don't know, prevent teen pregnancy, I guess.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happened at school?

BRISTOL: I was -- it was during summer and school had just gotten out, so I just knew that I had to finish up high school and focus on getting an education.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know -- you know, we all learned about it in August or so, after -- and the media, I guess, dogged you a little bit.


VAN SUSTEREN: What was your reaction to that?

BRISTOL: I mostly just didn't pay attention to it because my family's strong and it doesn't matter what the -- like, what tabloids say or anything like that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you read any of the tabloids?

BRISTOL: I've seen some of them, and I think people out there are just evil because they don't know what was going on at all.

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Blogger mark said...

It's funny how similar these markers sound to the glosses given to Japanse discourse particles like yo (I don't know, you know) and ne (I know, you know).

(Perhaps I've mixed them up.)

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Chad Nilep said...

Ashley said...

I KNOW this is a serious stuff, but I cann't stop laughing with her discurse, I mean, she doesn't know anything. I really enjoyed it.

BTW you know how I can avoid [product name] pop-ups. that I get when I visit your blog ?

Chad said...
Maybe stop adding them?

10:14 PM  
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4:44 AM  

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