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Ten Enhancing Coherent Interpretation in Academic Written Discourse: Cross-Cultural Variation in the Use of Discourse Markers

Renata PovolnA

Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic


The coherent interpretation of written discourse can be enhanced by different linguistic means; in this regard an important role is undoubtedly performed by discourse markers. These language phenomena conceived here as signals of semantic relations between adjacent or more distant segments of discourse tend to be used intentionally by writers as guiding signals in order to help the prospective reader(s) arrive at an intended interpretation of discourse. Consequently, discourse markers (DMs), while enhancing an interpretation coherent with the author’s communicative intentions, necessarily contribute to both cohesion and coherence, and thus become important features of written discourse, in particular discourse used in academic settings and intended for an international academic audience.

The chapter is concerned with discourse markers and the role they perform in the achieving of coherent interpretation and establishing and maintaining of coherence. The aim is to find out whether two semantic relations often considered most important in academic argumentation-cause and contrast-tend to be expressed overtly by discourse markers and whether there is cross-cultural variation in the use of causal and contrastive DMs in academic written discourse, notably in research articles (RAs) produced by native speakers of English and Czech expert writers. In addition, a supplementary comparison will be made with Czech novice writers.

  • [1] This article is part of the grant project 405/08/0866 Coherence and Cohesion inEnglish Discourse, which is supported by the Czech Science Foundation.
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