The aim of the paper is to examine to what extent general extenders (GEs) (Overstreet 1999; 2005) - vague expressions such as and so on and or something – have migrated from informal conversation to the written transcripts of formal speech events, i.e. verbatim reports of EU parliamentary debates, and to verify whether their use is in any way linked to the institutional identity of the speakers and to the formality of the genre. The forms of GEs found in a corpus of the transcripts of EU parliamentary debates held in 2006 (about 4 million words) are contrasted with the forms found in naturally occurring conversation (Overstreet and Yule 1997; Overstreet 1999; 2005; Evison, McCarthy and O’Keeffe 2007). The use of the most frequently occurring GE in the corpus of parliamentary debates – and so on – is then discussed in relation to the institutional identity of the speakers and to their identity as a group. It was found that the range of GEs in EUROPARL is much more restricted and their overall frequency is lower than in everyday conversation. In particular, unlike conversationalists, MEPs avoid using disjunctive GEs, which would mark what they are saying as potentially inaccurate. MEPs use of and so on also differs from conversation, once again indicating that MEPs feel a greater need for precision. In addition, and so on is often used to refer to a kind of knowledge which is accessible primarily to MEPs. Therefore, findings indicate that the use of and so on points to MEPs’ institutional and group identity.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteForms of Migration, Migration of Forms
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2009


  • EU parliamentary discourse and conversation
  • general extenders
  • vague language


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