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Discourse Particle Functions for VCE English Language Students
As the exam is only a couple of weeks away, it’s important that you begin to finalise your knowledge of key content in the study design.
In Practical English Usage, Michael Swan defines a ‘discourse marker’ as ‘a word or expression which shows the connection between what is being said and the wider context’. For him, a discourse marker is something that either connects a sentence to what comes before or after, or indicates a speaker’s attitude to what he is saying. The main reasons include the following:
- to provide a sense of where something is in relation to something else;
- to supply a sense of when something is happening;
- to compare two ideas and express similarities;
- to contrast ideas English provides many examples to signal the notion of difference;
- to present additional or supplementary ideas;
- to indicate that a point in a discussion has been conceded or already taken into account;
- to demonstrate a sense of logical sequence;
- to offer an illustration or an example;
- to deliver a summary of the ideas discussed.
Examples include: “well”, “now”, “then”, “you know”, “I mean”, “like”, “I think”, “anyway” and “yeah nah”.
To put these into context, I have attached a photo of a sheet that I discovered a few years ago on the various functions. SEE HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGE HERE.
Lenore and Alina have met for a coffee and are discussing an acquaintance.
1 LENORE: [Disgusting].
2 ALINA: [(TSK) Well you know],
3 LENORE: (Hx)
4 ALINA: remember ^Tyke?,
5 .. Lived next door to Mom?.
6 LENORE: .. (%) … Yeah:.
7 ALINA: … Okay.
8 (H) .. Two weeks ago I’m watching TV,
9 .. and David Horowitz is going to have,
10 this former car .. radio thief on?.
11 LENORE: … It’s her boyfriend?.
12 ALINA: (H) .. Yeah,
13 her ex-boyfriend.
14 … ^Mike.
15 … He’s the one that stole ~Hector’s radio.
16 LENORE: … How do you know.
17 ALINA: (H) Well,
18 … cause well,
19 .. he —
20 .. he was a cocaine addict.
21 So he’s talking about,
22 #he —
23 <VOX> #you #know he’s,
24 yeah man,
25 he’s gonna show us,
26 .. you know,
27 how # not #,
28 LENORE: (THROAT)
29 ALINA: to protect your car,
30 not to get it,
31 you know,
32 ripped off man.
34 you know,
35 I —
36 .. yeah,
37 I was into it,
38 uh let me show you how easy it was </VOX>.
39 (H) He’s actually pretty intelligent.
40 .. You know he just —
41 … (H) uneducated,
43 .. u:m,
44 .. (TSK) yeah:.
45 ~Hector’s radio:,
46 with —
47 I– it was bro:ken,
48 we were gonna s– —
49 take it out and send it back to the factory,
50 to get a new factory,
51 .. (H) radio,
52 we never got a chance,
54 the back window was broken,
55 and they stole #it.
56 … The radio.
57 … And you can’t send something back to the factory,
58 that isn’t there any[more],
59 LENORE: [<WH> @@@ </WH>]
60 ALINA: right?,
61 .. So he never got his [radio.
62 LENORE: [It’s really hard.
63 ALINA: (H):]
64 LENORE: <WH> Oh.
65 Shit </WH>].
66 ALINA: So he got another radi[2o this] summer,
67 LENORE: [2(H):]
68 ALINA: but of course that got ripped off also.
69 <VOX> But never mind </VOX>.
71 LENORE: [He’s #having] bad luck with that car.
Thanks! I sincerely hope this helps!
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