23 occurrences of the Romanian interjection vai in the two published corpora of spoken Romanian (CORV - Laurenţia Dascălu-Jinga (2002) Corpus de română vorbită (CORV). Eşantioane - and IV - Liliana Ionescu-Ruxăndoiu (ed., 2002), Interacţiunea verbală in limba română actuală. Corpus (selectiv). Schiţă de tipologie) are analysed, using conversation analysis methods and concepts from pragmatics and cognitive linguistics. The interjection is found to be predominant in female speech, and in interactions involving story telling and evaluation. The sequential distribution being relevant to the meaning of the interjection, its specific collocations are analysed and the syntactic relationships that vai can bear with other discourse units are discussed. Finally, the role of the interjection as mental space builder / shifter and illocutionary force modifier are investigated. The overall conclusion is that the interjection vai functions as an affective and attitudinal marker, cueing the hearer on the interpretation of a propositional content that is indexed by the interjection in the discursive or situational context. On the information management level, the interjection is found to play an important role signalling various types of shifts: in the participation framework, mental spaces, stance, from objective to subjective discourse etc. To my knowledge, no other detailed study or analysis of the Romanian interjection vai, based on authentic language data, has been attempted before. Along with the rest of the interjections, vai is only mentioned briefly in the ‘semantic’ typologies, based on the kind of emotion expressed by every single interjection, that seem to be the rule in the normative or descriptive grammars of Romanian.
Dialogul in Romana Vorbita: Omagiu Profesorului Sorin Stati La a 70-a Aniversare, 2003, p. 262-280