Discourse Markers

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Using language – “languaging” (Becker 1988) – is possible at two levels of discourse. Generally, when we use language, we look through it at a world we believe to exist beyond language. However, we can also use language for metalanguaging, i.e., in order to look through it at the process of using language itself (→ Linguistics; Conversation Analysis). Discourse markers can be viewed as linguistic elements employed for metalanguaging – languaging about the interaction, as opposed to languaging about the extralingual world. In other words, rather than referring to the world perceived by speakers to exist beyond language, discourse markers refer to the text itself, to the interaction among its speakers, or to the cognitive processes taking place in their minds during verbalization (Maschler 1994).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Communication
EditorsW. Donsbach
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)9781405186407
ISBN (Print)9781405131995
StatePublished - 2008


  • language and social interaction
  • linguistics
  • discourse
  • grammar


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