LINGUIST List 15.672

Mon Feb 23 2004

Sum: English Discourse Markers Yet/Still

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  1. R.M.Salkie, Sum: YET and STILL as discourse markers

Message 1: Sum: YET and STILL as discourse markers

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 13:55:31 -0000
From: R.M.Salkie <>
Subject: Sum: YET and STILL as discourse markers

In December I asked for help in finding studies of these words
(Linguist 14.3498):

As well as the items listed below, two recent unpublished studies came to

Charlene Dee Crupi. But Still a Yet: The Quest For a Constant Semantic
Value For English YET. Ed Doc dissertation, Graduate School of
Education, Rutgers University. January 2004.

This study demonstrates that YET contributes a single semantic value,
SIGNIFICANT CONTRAST, wherever it appears, regardless of syntactic

In a linking capacity, YET indicates that both conjuncts contribute to
a contrast that is relevant to an author's communicative purposes - a
strikingly different cue than those provided by BUT and STILL, despite
their common designation as adversative conjunctions. Conjunctive
STILL [CONTINUATION, NO CHANGE] indicates that subsequent information
has been mentioned earlier in the text or is part of the reader's
general knowledge. BUT instructs the reader to abandon previous
assumptions in favor of subsequent information of higher thematic
relevance. For more information, contact the author at

Mar�a Oset Garc�a. English in the books vs. English in Use: The Case
of YET. MPhil essay, University of Birmingham. December 2003.

The essay examines what dictionaries, grammars and ESL textbooks say
about YET, and compares this with corpus examples from the Bank of
English. For more information, contact the author at

ABRAHAM, W. (1980), The synchronic and diachronic semantics of German
temporal 'noch' and 'schon', with aspects of English 'still', 'yet'
and 'already', Studies in language 4, 3-24. [I have not yet been able
to find a copy of this paper].

CLOSS TRAUGOTT, E., WATERHOUSE, J. (1969), Already and yet : a
suppletive set of aspect-markers?, Journal of linguistics, 5,
pp.287-304. [Deals entirely with the temporal use of YET]

GREENBAUM, S. (1969). Studies in English Adverbial Usage. London:
Longman. pp. 59-69. [Brief discussions on YET and STILL as discourse
markers, but useful because he compares them with NEVERTHELESS,
ANYHOW, etc, using authentic examples].

HIRTLE, W. H. (1977), Already, still and yet, Archivum Linguisticum,
VII, N.S., no. 1, pp.28-45. [Almost entirely on the temporal uses, but
has a page near the end on the discourse marker uses. Uses the
Guillaume theoretical framework, which has its own terminology, but
fairly accessible to non-specialists]

K�NIG, E. (1991), The meaning of focus particles. A comparative
perspective, London, New York, Routledge. (Chapter 7, in particular
pp. 153-7) [A few words on STILL and YET, mostly as a companion to the
main discussion of German NOCH and SCHON].

LENK, U. (1998). Marking discourse coherence: Functions of discourse
markers in spoken English (Language in performance,
Vol. 15). T�bingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. [I have not yet been able to
find a copy of this book].

MICHAELIS, L. (1993), 'Continuity' across three scalar domains : the
polysemy of adverbial 'still', Journal of semantics 10,
193-237. [Almost entirely about the temporal use, but some discussion
near the end of the discourse marker use. Heavy use of logical

TRAUGOTT,E.C. AND K�NIG, E. (1982), Divergence and apparent
convergence in the development of 'yet' and 'still', In M. Macaulay et
al (eds.), Proceedings of the eighth annual meeting of the Berkeley
Linguistics Society, 170-179. [Historical development of these words,
mostly the temporal uses: they argue that "the original meanings of
YET and STILL account for all the temporal and even the concessive
uses of these particles"].

VAN DER AUWERA, J. (1993), Already and still : Beyond Duality,
Linguistics and Philosophy, 16, pp. 613 - 653. [Almost entirely on the
temporal uses. In the tradition of Traugott & Waterhouse above].

VAN BAAR, T. (1997) Continuation and change in FG. In C. Butler, J.
Connolly, R. Gatward and R. Vismans (eds.) A Fund of ideas: Recent
Developments in Functional Grammar. (Studies in Language and Language
use 31), Amsterdam: IFOTT, 42-59. (IFOTT is (or rather, was) the
Institute for Functional Research into Language and Language Use at
the Unviersity of Amsterdam). [Examines the temporal uses of ALREADY,
STILL, YET and NO LONGER and their equivalents in a wide range of
languages. In the tradition of Traugott & Waterhouse above].

Thanks to the following people for their help:
Joel Walters
Lisa Ferro
Chris Butler
Tim van Baar
Larry Horn
Alan Huffman
Galina Bolden
Mike Matloff
Wolfgang Teubert
Bruce Fraser
Charlene Crupi
Sandrine Deloor
Mar�a Oset
Raphael Salkie, University of Brighton, England
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