Discourse markers and (dis)fluency in English and French
Variation and combination in the DisFrEn corpus
While discourse markers (DMs) and (dis)fluency have been extensively studied in the past as separate phenomena, corpus-based research combining large-scale yet fine-grained annotations of both categories has, however, never been carried out before. Integrating these two levels of analysis, while methodologically challenging, is not only innovative but also highly relevant to the investigation of spoken discourse in general and form-meaning patterns in particular. The aim of this paper is to provide corpus-based evidence of the register-sensitivity of DMs and other disfluencies (e.g. pauses, repetitions) and of their tendency to combine in recurrent clusters. These claims are supported by quantitative findings on the variation and combination of DMs with other (dis)fluency devices in DisFrEn, a richly annotated and comparable English-French corpus representative of eight different interaction settings. The analysis uncovers the prominent place of DMs within (dis)fluency and meaningful association patterns between forms and functions, in a usage-based approach to meaning-in-context.
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