ON THE EXPRESSIVE METATEXTUAL OPERATORS 'AHA', 'YES', 'WHAT?' AND THOSE INDICATING THE END OF A REPLY
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In spontaneous speech, metatextual units very often refer to textual operations (e.g., to put it simply = to express sg in a simpler form), but they may also serve to indicate certain mental processes going on during text creation, e.g., aha = some piece of information has occurred to the speaker while speaking (En ezt megcsinaltam / aha es odaadtam Pistanak 'I made it / oh yes, and gave it to Steve'); igen 'yes' = I have made the right choice (Figyelj! Tudod, hogy mar egy honapja... / igen, mar egy honapja / nem dohanyzom 'Listen, d'you know, it's been a month / yeah, a month / that I gave up smoking'). The metatextual operator mi? complements the mosaic of functions of the question word mi? 'what?' and may exclusively occur in interrogative contexts. Its first function is to indicate that a question is due to begin in a moment. In this sense, mi? is an anticipation of a question, a 'proto-question', e.g., Ez milyen színu? Mi? 'What colour is this? Eh?'. The operator mi? may also signal a question that suggests surprise: Mi? O ujra idekoltozott? 'What? She has moved back here?'.
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