An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences
Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker
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On discourse markers: Grammaticalization, pragmaticalization, or something else?
Discourse markers have been the subject of a considerable body of recent research. Most commonly, their genesis and development was described in terms of grammaticalization. But there were also alternative approaches to deal with their development, and the term pragmaticalization was proposed to account for features of discourse markers that pose a problem to grammaticalization theory.
In the present paper it is argued that neither grammaticalization nor pragmaticalization are entirely satisfactory in the understanding of the nature of discourse markers. On the basis of recent work on Discourse Grammar (Kaltenböck et al. 2011; Heine et al. 2012) it is argued that the rise of discourse markers involves an operation called cooptation, whereby information units such as clauses, phrases, or words are transferred from the domain of sentence grammar to that of discourse organization.
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