Discourse Markers in Arabic and English Newspaper Articles: The Case of the Arabic Lakin and its English equivalent But
Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number1 March 2020
12 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020
Date Written: 2020
Discourse markers, as words or phrases, play a significant role in promoting coherent segments of discourse. This paper investigates the use of discourse markers (DMs) in newspaper articles. By applying Fraser’s framework, this study aims at investigating the functions and positions of DM but (English) and its equivalent lakin (Arabic) in newspaper articles written by native and non-native speakers of English and Saudi and Egyptian speakers of Arabic. It also highlights the similarities and differences in the functions and positions of DMs but and lakin. This quantitative study adopts a corpus-based approach. The data consist of articles collected from 12 newspapers categorized as: Arabic language newspapers published in Saudi Arabia (Alriyadh, Al Jazirah, Al-Hayat) and Egypt (Al-Ahram, Al-Gomhuria, Eltahrir) and English language newspapers published in Saudi Arabia (Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Asharq Al-Awsat) and the USA (Washington Post, The New York Times, USA TODAY). Findings demonstrate, first, that DM but is used frequently as a confirmation or addition marker by both native and non-native speakers. However, second, lakin, functions as the primary correction DM in standard Arabic. Moreover, third, the native Arabic speakers mostly share the same functions of using lakin despite different dialects they have. This study also reveals that lakin can be found only in the medial position, whereas, but is found in the initial and medial position. It concludes that DMs but and lakin evidence that functions of DMs proposed by Fraser are universal and they could be generalized.
Keywords: Arabic and English newspaper articles, but, discourse markers, functions and positions, lakin
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