Research tools

We have developed a set of tools to investigate how confirmational meanings are expressed in different languages. This set of tools is comprised of a series of storyboards that serve as a basis to test our hypotheses, and a form in which we keep track of our hypothesis testing. But what does that mean exactly?

In parameters of variation, we explained that the syntactic distribution of confirmationals and their discursive distribution is influenced by syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and contextual factors that we also call parameters of variation.

Every time we investigate a new confirmational, we hypothesize that it is sensitive to all the parameters we have found so far (clause type, speech act, evidentiality, social relations, register and politeness). To test this hypothesis, we use storyboards and then compile the results in the form.

Our work is like a spiral that grows deeper and deeper. Hence, it happens sometimes that we find by chance or based on people’s intuitions (speakers and researchers alike) new parameters of variation in different languages. When that happens, we create new storyboards, include the new parameters in our form, and amend our model of confirmationals to account for the new facts.

If you’re interested in uncovering the inner workings of confirmational meanings in your own language, be it for teaching purposes, by curiosity or because you’re a linguist, you can access the form here, and use our storyboards.

If you wish to share your findings with us, or if you have questions about how to use the form and the storyboards, do not hesitate to write to us or post on our facebook page here.

Next: Parameters of Variation

Syntax of Speech Acts Project at UBC Linguistics