Glossary: discourse marker


Discourse markers (also called pragmatic markers) are usually short words, phrases or clauses that are used by participants in spoken language to signal various meanings such as agreement, anger, surprise, etc. They can also signal a change in speaker (turn-taking) or the desire to terminate a conversation. Examples are ah, oh, well, yeah, oh my god, etc.

Discourse markers

Discourse markers are usually short words, phrases or clauses that guide the way in which participants in a conversation interact with each other and how they react to each other's contributions. Here are some examples:

yeah, oh, well, ehr, uhm, ah, anyway, definitely, OK, absolutely, mmm, I mean, I think, so

Discourse structure

Speakers and writers often use a range of structures and devices to signpost their arguments. These signposts link what they are saying to what they have said before, and to what they are going to say.

Discourse structure is a term used to describe the way in which an entire text is organised – for example, how language is used in a poem, in a newspaper article, or in a speech designed to read aloud.


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