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Amen and Hallelujah preaching: Discourse functions in African American sermons


Numerous discourse markers have been examined in conversation and lecture contexts, but research is sparse on markers in the sermon genre and on the religious discourse communities in which sermons occur. This article examines discourse marker functions of sermonic expressions frequent in performed African American sermons (e.g. Amen, Hallelujah, Praise God). Functions identified include those of textual boundary marker, spiritual maintenance filler, rhythmic marker, and the infrequent call-response marker. Results support the importance of the role that culture (here, African oral tradition) plays in sermon performance.

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Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
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