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Combinations of Contrastive Discourse Markers in English

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image of International Review of Pragmatics

Discourse Markers are usually discussed as terms which signal the relationship between two contiguous sentences, S1—DM—S2 (“We started late. Yet, somehow, we arrived on time.”) In the present paper, I examine the class of English Contrastive Discourse Markers (CDMs) to determine what pairs of them occur acceptably in a sentence (“The health care system needs more primary care physicians. However, on the other hand, they are the doctors who are paid at the bottom of the scale.”), those which are unacceptable (“We could go to Jamaica for our vacation this year. On the other hand, nevertheless, we could stay home.”), and others for which the jury is out. Several tentative generalizations, including the role of spoken vs. written language are made but the complete solution is far down the road.

Affiliations: 1: Boston University, USA


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