Pragmatic triangulation and misunderstanding

A prosodic perspective


  • Jesús Romero-Trillo Universidad Autónoma de Madrid



corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, discourse markers, pragmatic triangulation, pragmatic markers, prosody


This paper presents ‘pragmatic triangulation’ as the main tool used by speakers to avoid misunderstanding and reformulate ideas in speech, through Pragmatic Markers (PM’s), in the Spanish section of the Lindsei Corpus. The study will delve into the prosodic features used by native and non-native speakers of English in the prevention of misunderstanding to determine their functional differences in both groups of speakers. The paper will first make a theoretical account of the notion of understanding and misunderstanding and will discuss the characterization of Pragmatic Markers in the communication process. Secondly, the study will select the most frequent PM’s used by speakers for this purpose, and will describe its frequency and relevance in the corpus. And thirdly, the paper will look into the intonation and pragmatic asymmetry of the use of these elements by native and non-native speakers on the basis of statistical data. The final section will discuss the results of the analysis and will highlight the importance of invigorating this type of research for the benefit of contrastive and pedagogic studies.

Author Biography

Jesús Romero-Trillo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Jesús Romero-Trillo is an Associate Professor at the English Philology Department (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). He obtained an MSc in Applied Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh (1990) and a PhD at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1994). He specializes in the pragmatics-intonation interface in English and Spanish. In 2008 he edited Pragmatics and Corpus Linguistics (Mouton de Gruyter) and has also edited the volume Pragmatics and Prosody in English Language Teaching (Springer, 2012). At present he leads the interdisciplinary CLAN Project (Corpus of Language & Nature) and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics (Springer)


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How to Cite

Romero-Trillo, J. (2012). Pragmatic triangulation and misunderstanding: A prosodic perspective. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 6(1-3), 43–55.



Discourse Markers