Chapter in:Pragmatic Markers and Peripheries
Edited by Daniël Van Olmen and Jolanta Šinkūnienė
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 325] 2021
► pp. 20–48
Discourse markers at the peripheries of syntax, intonation and turns
Towards a cognitive-functional unit of segmentation
In this study, we analyze to what extent the type of unit influences the position and function of discourse markers (DMs). By comparing DM use across peripheries and across units, we aim to identify which linguistic level (syntax, intonation, turns) is most functionally and cognitively motivated. Our corpus-based analysis reveals that clauses best account for the systematic variation of DMs: initial uses are dedicated to marking discourse relations, medial uses express the speaker’s subjectivity and final uses call out to the addressee. The distribution of DMs in turns is fairly similar but this interactional unit is not fine-grained enough. Intonational peripheries, in turn, seem to perform other functions that are not reflected in a systematic variation of DM uses.
Keywords: discourse markers, segmentation, function, position, French