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Academic Paper

Title: But qui c'est la différence? Discourse markers in Louisiana French: The case of but vs. mais
Author: Nathalie Dajko
Institution: Tulane University
Author: Katie Carmichael
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ohio State University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article examines the use of English discourse markers in Louisiana French, focusing in particular on English but and its French counterpart mais. Based on data collected in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, we examine the speech of bilinguals to determine the status of these markers, which provide a window onto the role of discourse markers in situations of language contact. Though the markers show an overlapping semantic and functional distribution, but more often appears in the context of at least one pause. We also provide acoustic evidence and an analysis of the markers in different functions to conclude that the need for iconic contrast via language mixing (Maschler 1994, 1997; de Rooij 2000) is only one possible motivation for the use of foreign markers. We conclude that discourse markers may carry social meaning and be the site of identity construction as much as they are the site of text organization. (Discourse markers, bilingual discourse, codeswitching, language shift)


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 43, Issue 2.

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