LINGUIST List 4.602

Sat 14 Aug 1993

Qs: Discourse markers, Multilingual texts, Discourse categories

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Maria Polinsky, query: discourse markers
  2. Ted Pedersen, Query - Multi Lingual Text Generation
  3. R.Y.L. TANG, Query: Delimitation of Discourses

Message 1: query: discourse markers

Date: Wed, 4 Aug 93 16:00:15 PDTquery: discourse markers
From: Maria Polinsky <>
Subject: query: discourse markers

Does anyone know of a concise definition of a discourse marker and
of a filler? Are there any cross-linguistic studies of discourse
markers available?
Please respond directly to me at
I'll be glad to post a summary of the responses.

Maria Polinsky
Linguistics, USC
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Message 2: Query - Multi Lingual Text Generation

Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1993 17:53:13 -Query - Multi Lingual Text Generation
From: Ted Pedersen <>
Subject: Query - Multi Lingual Text Generation

I am interested in finding out about research going on in
multi-lingual text generation. Multi-lingual seems to be the catch. I
am able to find quite a few references dealing with text generation
but very few that address the issues of multi-lingual text generation
in particular.

The work that I have discovered comes up mainly in the context of
Machine Translation. This is good stuff, however, I'm especially
interested if there are folks working on multi-lingual text generation
outside the realm of Machine Translation.

I'm hoping to come across some work that has a tie-in with some
body of linguistic research. I have been doing a little reading in the
area of "Language Universals" (esp. Greenberg and Comrie lately) but
have not really seen how to tie any of that to the problem of
multi-lingual text generation.

Any hints appreciated.


* Ted Pedersen *
* Department of Computer Science and Engineering, *
* Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275 (214) 768-2126 *
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Message 3: Query: Delimitation of Discourses

Date: Thu, 5 Aug 93 17:32:28 WSTQuery: Delimitation of Discourses
From: R.Y.L. TANG <>
Subject: Query: Delimitation of Discourses

Dear netters,

There exist ample analyses of the discourses of medicine, law, advertising,
religion, news reporting, etc. However, the most fundamental problem of
delimitation of discourse boundaries has not been solved.

*How* can one identify a piece of 'medical' discourse as such? Even
if we regard a medical text as the meeting place of many different
discourses, how can we label and delimit these discourses with confidence?

Apart from the well-known 'areas' of discursive practice mentioned above,
what about identifying those 'lifeworld' discourses (after Fairclough
1992, in _Discourse & Society_ 3(2))? Is a talk about everyday health
matters a piece of medicalor lifeworld discourse?

How about textual elements which cannot be put into any category of
discursive practice or social practice? Put all of them into a trash box
called 'lifeworld' or 'everyday' discourses?

It seems too easy to identify discourse types for analysis. But for me, it
seems difficult when I am bombarded by texts which do not have a homogeneous
nature resembling that of a piece of doctor-produced 'medical' text. Can
anyone help me clarify all these?

Thanks in advance, and please send your prospective replies to my
account direct:


Raymond Y.L. TANG
Department of English
University of Hong Kong
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