Discourse marker examples features characteristics functions

Discourse or Speech Markers

The discourse markers , also called “extrarational links” by Samuel Gili Gaya , or argumentative or extra rational connectors , text processors , etc., are “invariable linguistic units, which do not exert a syntactic function within the framework of sentence preaching, since they are marginal elements and have a coincident role in the discourse: that of guiding, according to their different morphosyntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties, the inferences that are made in communication “. In this article we will define the Discourse marker examples.

Typically, discursive markers are separated by commas, since they are extrarational elements, that is, they are not part of any sentence .

History of the concept

Discourse markers are, as the term suggests, words that mark the discourse . This means that they only came to the attention as linguistics started paying attention to the discourse. Under discourse people understand: the communicative interaction that is specific to language and that has its own semantic dynamic.

Traditionally, semantics consists of either a component analysis of the components of an expression, in the case of sentence semantics , or a descriptive analysis of words in isolation, in the case of lexical semantics . In that approach, however, meaning is considered in a kind of idealized vacuum; however, in real communication, that is, actual linguistic interaction between people, there is an immense amount of personal evaluation. The discourse analysis, which always uses real, registered language, is oriented to the underlying personal and institutional context. As a result of that interest, people have started to focus on elements that speakers add to their discourse in order to express their personal attitude. In many cases it concerns words that have a clear lexical meaning in isolation.

Research into grammaticalization shows that the appearance of discourse markers is a result of, or is accompanied by, an increasing subjectification of the discourse.


Samuel Gili Gaya already pointed out some of the characteristics of these particles:

  1. Its link to external notions to the preaching of prayer.
  2. His invariable character.
  3. The heterogeneity of its categorical entity: conjunctions , conjunctive phrases, interjections , etc.
  4. The distributional versatility of many of them (they occupy the initial, medial or final position of the discursive member in which they appear).
  5. Their significant peculiarity: they contribute to establishing what the author calls coherence , and they reach a plurality of semantic values in combination, frequently, with the appropriate suprasegmental features ( intonation , especially).
  6. They can be assigned to different registers (in some cases they are more typical of written discourse – “however”, “nonetheless”, “consequently” … and in others they are more typical of oral discourse: well, so, etc. .)
  7. They become mere supports of elocution or “muletillas” in colloquial speech.


What are invariable, can see that is not the same as saying “Lucia is injured and therefore can not play” that “Lucia is injured and, therefore, can not play” , since “therefore” does not play syntactic function neither supports bending ( * hence ) nor supplements, which can be done “for this reason” , which supports plural or can be reformulated with complements “even for these small reasons” . Consequently, “for this reason” and similar expressions cannot be said to be true markers of speech .

Now, speech markers may appear to perform syntactic functions, but no longer as speech markers: I’ll do it / Well, I’ll do it. I will do it in any case / In any case, I will do it. It doesn’t have to answer like this / So it doesn’t have to answer. Say it in a word / In a word, say it.

The markers of discourse differ from the conjunctions in which they are not always placed at the beginning of the text , but have greater mobility, although many of them are required there. On the other hand, they do not admit negation, nor – between themselves – coordination: * good and therefore , although they can be coordinated with syntagma located in interjection in case they are adverbs markers: “The culture is in addition, and mainly, the present time ” . “In fact, although they would be seen countless times, they would never refer to that supernatural fact . ”


Based on the silver, it can be said that the discursive marks represent the necessary “glue” that makes the propositions of a text support each other. When this union is achieved, cohesion is manifested and global coherence is generated.

It can also be said that the depth of the discourses is subject to the understanding of the discursive marks and their power, both by the one who elaborates the discourse and by the one who reads it. A broad grammatical understanding is required to make the correct sense of arguments.

In addition to the above, it is necessary to understand that learning the correct use of discursive marks to improve communication should not be something for scholars or the gifted. On the contrary, we are all responsible for doing so, it is our duty as speakers of a language.

It is not impossible to acquire all the necessary skills to be able to create convincing speeches. It is enough to propose the conscious and schematic study of the different discursive markers, elaborate examples and put them into practice through socialized readings.

The great societies have achieved their advances largely supported by the communicative possibilities acquired by their inhabitants. It’s not what we say, but how we say it.

Characteristics of discourse markers

They are independent grammatical structures.

When using speech marks, a comma should be placed before, after, or before and after, depending on the role they are playing in the speech. This denotes his isolation from the argument; however, its impact on the strength of the text persists.

Each of the discursive marks is like an island in the sea; in fact, they cannot be linked to each other either. They do not accept that type of links, as well as the denial.

They generate cohesion in the textual microstructure

This characteristic is one of the most important, since these argumentative links allow the different propositions of the discourse to be united to give meaning and reinforce the general idea.

They shape the structures of the text

By uniting the main ideas that make up the textual microstructure, they give meaning to the different macrostructures, which leads to the suprastructural conformation that allows the speaker the global understanding of the discourse.

Guide and give continuity

The proper use of these links makes it easier to lead the speakers, interpreters, readers or announcers through the set of ideas in a fluid and orderly manner until they understand the totality of the message. The level of guidance and continuity will depend on the discursive abilities of the person who writes the text.

They add order to speech

These argumentative connectors fulfill their function at structural levels, directing the information from the simplest to the most complex.

Thanks to the distributive versatility that they possess with respect to the propositions, they facilitate the detailed explanation of the contents, and, therefore, their understanding.

Its use depends on the communication plane

When speaking of a communication plane, reference is made to the oral and written plane. Depending on the purpose of the discourse, the use of connectives will be. Each plane has its discursive particularities.

At the same time, the public to which it is directed will determine the level of links that are made, anaphorically and endophorically speaking (understand this as the relationships between ideas, inside and outside the paragraphs).

They are the supports in oral and written expression

If it weren’t for these textual processors, there would be no orality, one would ramble among a set of scattered, meaningless ideas. Textual markers support the oral and written expression of languages, they are essential.

Types of speech marks and examples

When addressing discursive marks, we find five well-defined types. Next, generalized examples will be mentioned and given by groups:

Information structurers

They are the ones that allow information to be displayed in an orderly manner to give meaning to the discourse. Between them we have:


– To all this.

– By the way.

– By the way.


– That’s the way it is.

– As well.

– Well.


– On the one hand / on the other.

– In first place in second place.

– Part.

– After / later.


“We will start talking about Pedro. Well , he left. On the one hand,  it’s a good thing he did. By the way, he was left owing me money.”


They are responsible for making the discursive synapse . They intertwine a proposition with another previous or external to the paragraph; that is, they link ideas at the contextual level.

In a row

– Therefore.

– So.

– Thus.


– Before good.

– By cons.

– Nevertheless.

– Nevertheless.


– Even.

– Also.

– Over.


“I didn’t want it to happen; Rather , I wanted to fix everything. He didn’t want to, so  I left there. Look how benevolent I was, you could even  say I behaved like his friend.”


They are in charge of bringing to the discourse a new proposition related to what was discussed in previous statements.


– Anyway.

– In conclusion.

– After.

of rectification

– Rather.

– Even better.

– Rather.


– Namely.

– That is.

– That is.

of distancing

In any case.

In any case.

In any case.


“There was nothing else to do there. Rather , everything was done. Anyway , we packed up everything and left. Anyway , what was missing?; that is , the house had been left in ruins. You understand me?”.

argumentative operators

These text processors are responsible for conditioning the arguments of a discursive proposal, without connecting it with any other.

of concreteness

– In particular.

– For example.

argument reinforcement

– In fact.

– In fact.

– In the background.


“The colonel, in particular , can say that he did not burn down the house. Who would dare to blame him? In fact , who would even look him in the eye?

conversational bookmarks

These are directly associated with the conversational realm. They fulfill an informative role, of interaction focused on a listener. These are part of the so-called fillers used by a large majority of speakers in everyday dialogues.

conversational metadiscursive

– East.

– Okay.

– Hey.

of deontic modality

– Voucher.

– Okay.

– Good.

Of epistemic modality

– Apparently.

– Of course.

– Of course.

otherness focusers

– Look.

– Men.

– Hears.


“— This…  you go first, it’s up to you.

” Hey , let me think about it.

“You’ve chickened out, it seems .

“No, okay , don’t say that. Man, look , I’m the same.”

We hope that after reading this article you have understood Discourse marker examples.

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