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Discourse markers

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  • 1. Discourse Markers Tony Jeong
  • 2. • Grammar of Spoken English• Pragmatic markers• Discourse markers
  • 3. Pragmatic Markers• Mark speakers’ personal meanings, their organizational choices, attitudes and feelings.• Include stance markers, which express speakers’ attitudes and positions, hedges, (which enable speakers to make their utterances less assertive), and common interjections, (which encode speakers’ affective reactions).
  • 4. Discourse Markers• Words and phrases outside of the clause structure, that function to link segments of the discourse to one another in ways which reflect choices of monitoring, organization and management exercised by the speaker.• Have a number of communicative functions including the marking of responses in conversation and organizing discourse through the marking of shifts and boundaries in ongoing talk.
  • 5. Discourse Markers• The most common discourse markers in everyday informal spoken language: – single words: • anyway, cos, fine, good, great, like, now, oh, okay, right, so, well – phrasal and clausal items • you know, I mean, as I say, for a start, mind you• Items such as well and right were within the top 50 most frequently occurring words because of their high frequency as discourse markers in conversation.
  • 6. Discourse markers as monitors• When we speak, we orient towards our listener(s) and constantly monitor what we are saying and how it is being received.• Discourse markers have an important role in this.• Used to mark reformulations, where the speaker has not selected the most appropriate way of expressing things and is adding to or refining what they say with a more apt word or phrase, or else drawing attention to a word or phrase.• Most common: (as I was saying, as it were, I mean, if you like, in other words, not to say, so to speak, strictly speaking, to put it another way, well )
  • 7. Discourse markers as monitors• (In writing) In specific areas such as space exploration, computer science, and popular music, an author can expect many young readers to have a considerable amount of existing knowledge.• Used in relation to shared knowledge. you know is the most frequent chunk of all, and is an important signal of (projected or assumed) shared knowledge between speaker and listener, as well as being a topic-launcher.• Two of the most common discourse markers are you know and (you) see. Both of these signal that speakers are sensitive to the needs of their listeners and are monitoring the state of shared knowledge in the conversation.
  • 8. Discourse markers as monitors• (You) see projects the assumption that the listener may not have the same state of knowledge as the speaker:• You know projects the assumption that knowledge is shared or that assertions are uncontroversial, and reinforces common points of reference, or checks that the listener is following what is being said:
  • 9. Discourse markers as monitors• Used to mark shared knowledge. In this way they are central to a process which binds participants in a conversation as they constantly mark, monitor, and project shared knowledge and shared space.• For example, discourse markers have a binding effect for the speakers, who use them to draw on shared knowledge and a shared sense of empathy.
  • 10. • S1: . . . he thought it would be best if he wasn’t living with his family. Then the husband• and wife obviously split up.• S2: Oh.• S1: And then• S2: How sad.• S1: you know he he went with friends obviously for a drink to you know drown his• sorrows.• S2: Yeah.• S1: And ended up• S2: On the street.• S1: on the street. And she doesn’t know where he is or anything.• S2: Could’ve just cracked. Well it must have been he did crack.• S1: Well yes. Yes.• S2: Because everything collapsed round him. He was obviously a very responsible chap.• He [unintelligible] bread-winner.• S1: He was fine. I mean no different from the rest of us (CANCODE)This tale could have been told without the use of discourse markers, but it would havelacked the ties to the speakers’ shared world. The discourse markers place the speakersrelative to the sad tale. They converge on an understanding of how it could have happenedto anyone.

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