Discourse Markers In Discourse Relations

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In general interlocutors assume that their contributions are relevant to each other. However, it has to be marked if a statement deviates from the prior discourse in order to facilitate the hearer’s understanding. “[In] everyday conversations they may be more likely to use informal means”, like discourse markers for this purpose (Smith & Jucker 2000: 208). Aijmer (2013: 17) infers from a comparison of various approaches to discourse markers that different models attribute a different number of functions. She further quotes Fisher (2006: 2013) who has synthesized a number of key functions many discourse markers share, namely functions “with respect to the turn-taking system, the indication of discourse relations, discourse structuring, the regulation…show more content…
All these function are also attributed to the discourse marker actually in ELF interactions, as the analysis section of this paper will show. Discourse markers do not only perform one single function but they can have different functions which may not necessarily be interrelated to each other (Aijmer 2002: 19). This is likely a result of their specific roles in discourse as they always appear in a context, this can inter alia be determined by social or cultural factors (Schiffrin 1998: 3-5). Thus, they influence meaning since language is context-sensitive, i.e. it is influenced by these contexts and also helps to establish them. The analysis of discourse markers is influenced by the length of the discourse the marker refers to. Schiffrin’s model of discourse focuses on the level of “local coherence”, where markers contribute to the meaning creation “between adjacent units in discourse” (Schiffrin 1998: 24). This perspective is expanded by Lenk whose analysis of discourse markers focuses on the global level, i.e. how they relate to “segments which were mentioned earlier or are intended to follow” (Lenk 1998: 24). She states that…show more content…
Therefore, Lenk (1998: 49) questions “whether a common definition is indeed desirable” and she argues that it is necessary to employ different definitions suited to the particular analysed subgroup of markers. In accordance with Lenk (1998: 49) the term discourse marker in this paper solely refers to the actual lexical items and not to any non-lexical items, like nodding. Moreover, Aijmer and Fetzer state that discourse markers can be described as being “linguistic devices with a discourse-connecting or interpersonal function” (Aijmer & Fetzer 2014: 1). Based on the theoretical descriptions in this section, I define them as follows: Discourse markers are interpersonal, multifunctional and functionalised lexical devices which have an organizational and qualifying function within the discourse and can occur in various positions within the

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