Metacommenters allow speakers to take some distance from a particular lexical selection, or enter into a negotiation with their interlocutors. A variational pragmatics approach is taken to the investigation of metacommenting in English
and French, in Europe and Canada/the US, drawing on a range of time-dated corpora.
English and French draw pragmatically on similar linguistic resources for their pool of metacommenters, subjectivity being expressed through sort of/kind of and like in English, and genre, comme and post-posed quoi in French, while intersubjectivity is inherent in the personal pronouns in if you like/if you will in English and si tu veux/si vous voulez in French.
The linguistic forms used for the purpose of metacommenting arise from items with similar core meanings in the two languages, but develop, increase and decrease in frequency at different rates across national varieties, giving rise to regional differences and indexicalities.