Discourse cues: Further evidence for the core contributor distinction

Jon Oberlander, Johanna Moore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Moser and Moore (1995, to appear) carried out a corpus study of discourse cues in tutorial dialogue. Their annotation uses Relational Discourse Analysis (RDA), which distinguishes core elements (nuclei-like) from contributors (satellite-like). In their discussion of these results, Moser and Moore propose that clauses in the contributor-core order are harder to understand than clauses in core-contributor order, but do not attempt to explain why the "hard'' order is ever used. Here, we recruit evidence from work by Stevenson and her collaborators, which substantiates the empirical claim. We then suggest that by distinguishing information structure (given-new) from intentional structure (core-contributor), we
can explain why hard orders are surprisingly frequent. We note, however, that this cannot be the whole story, and show how the hierarchical RDA structure helps account for differences between discourse cues such as since, so, this means, and therefore.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive Linguistics
EditorsJohn Newman
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

Publication series

NameCognitive Linguistics
PublisherWalter De Gruyter GmbH
ISSN (Print)0936-5907
ISSN (Electronic)1613-3641


  • discourse cues
  • intentional structure
  • information structure
  • Tutorial dialogue


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