Weak and strong discourse markers in speech, chat and writing: Do signals compensate for ambiguity in explicit relations?

Ludivine Crible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ambiguity in discourse is pervasive, yet mechanisms of production and processing suggest that it tends to be compensated in context. The present study sets out to analyze the combination of discourse markers (such as but or moreover) with other discourse signals (such as semantic relations or punctuation marks) across three genres (discussion, chat, and essay). The presence of discourse signals is expected to vary with the ambiguity of the discourse marker and with the genre. This analysis complements Das and Taboada’s (2018) approach to discourse signalling by zooming in on the different types of discourse markers with which other signals combine. The corpus annotation study uncovered three categories of marker strength – weak, intermediate and strong – thus refining the concept of ‘explicitness’. Statistical modeling reveals that weak discourse markers are more often compensated than intermediate and strong markers, and that this compensation is not affected by genre variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-807
Number of pages13
JournalDiscourse Processes
Volume57
Issue number9
Early online date14 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • discourse markers
  • ambiguity
  • discourse signals
  • explicitness
  • information density

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