1 A Relevance-Theoretical Account of Three Discourse Markers in North Hail Arabic

Murdhy Radad Alshamari


The current study addressed the discourse status and functions of three lexical items most frequently used in North Hail Arabic: jamaar, maar and ʔal-muhim. It applied Schourup (1999)’s characteristics of discourse markers: connectivity, optionality, non-truth-conditionality, weak clause association, orality, initiality, optionality and multi-categoriality, so as to check whether these lexical items are actually discourse markers. In addition to confirming their status as discourse markers, the study used one of the main tenets of the Relevance Theory, effort-effect trade-off in order to figure out their actual cognitive functions in discourse building and structuring. It followed that these lexical items maximize the contextual effect of the speaker’s utterance where they show up and minimise the processing effort needed form the part of the hearer to interact properly with the speaker.


Discourse markers; North Hail Arabic; The relevance theory; Effort-effect trade-off

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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