In this book, Miriam Urgelles-Col examines the syntax and semantics of
discourse markers. A discourse marker can loosely be defined as an item
such as well or now, coming at the beginning of an utterance and marking a
boundary between one part of spoken discourse and the next, signalling the
start of a new section of the discourse. They perform important functions
in conversation -- but defining discourse markers is problematic in itself.
The syntactic approach employed in this book to describe discourse markers
is Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) which is relevant in a
theory of discourse because it provides a framework in which all levels of
grammar can be integrated. Since discourse markers operate at discourse
level, a well developed discourse theory is required - in this case,
Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT) is employed. During the
course of the book, Minimal Recourse Semantics is explained as it provides
an integration of HPSG and SDRT. The approach described is exemplified
with an analysis of 'anyway'.
This book offers a detailed overview of research on discourse markers
covering different areas of linguistics: from a discourse analysis point of
view, to a Relevance Theory perspective going through a computational
linguistics approach. Moreover, the book contains a precise summary of
HPSG and the recently developed SDRT. It will be of great interest to
researchers in semantics, pragmatics, grammar and discourse analysis.
"This is a book out of the ordinary: rather than looking at only one aspect
of discourse markers, it provides an integrated, detailed and sensitive
exploration of the syntax, semantics, and discourse properties, and makes a
contribution to each of these fields. A fine read."
Doug Arnold, Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex, UK