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Discourse Markers
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Discourse markers - the particles oh, well, now, then, you know and I mean, and the connectives so, because, and, but and or - perform important functions in conversation. Dr Schiffrin's approach is firmly interdisciplinary, within linguistics and sociology, and her rigourous analysis clearly demonstrates that neither the markers, nor the discourse within which they function, can be understood from one point of view alone, but only as an integration of structural, semantic, pragmatic, and social factors. The core of the book is a comparative analysis of markers within conversational discourse collected by Dr Schiffrin during sociolinguistic fieldwork. The study concludes that markers provide contextual coordinates which aid in the production and interpretation of coherent conversation at both local and global levels of organization. It raises a wide range of theoretical and methodological issues important to discourse analysis - including the relationship between meaning and use, the role of qualitative and quantitative analyses - and the insights it offers will be of particular value to readers confronting the very substantial problems presented by the search for a model of discourse which is based on what people actually say, mean, and do with words in everyday social interaction.

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