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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.26 No.2 pp.63-84

Functions of I mean in American Talk Shows

Minjung Kang
PhD Candidate, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies


This paper aims to find out roles of the discourse marker I mean in American talk shows. Ten interviews from six talk shows were analyzed for the investigation and the results indicate that there are some unique functions of I mean which do not seem to be mentioned in early studies: counter-accounting and footing shift functions. This study suggests that the counter-accounting function of I mean can appear in utterance-initial position when the interviewee does not agree with what the interviewer has mentioned. Also, the interviewee can use I mean as a footing shift marker to switch stances from an informative one to an entertaining one (or vice versa). Since these two functions seem to be connected to the institutional settings and goals of talk shows, it is crucial to study functions of I mean in accordance with types of institutional talk.