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Sociopragmatic Functions of Discourse Markers in International Law Texts

DOI: 10.4304/tpls.1.11.1479-1487

Keywords: discourse markers , pragmatic connectives , discourse operators , international law texts

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Abstract:

This paper is an attempt to clarify the status of discourse markers in International Law Texts. Discourse markers, also having been studied under various labels including discourse operators, pragmatic connectives, cue phrases, discourse connectives, and sentence connectives, are used extensively in both spoken and written language to signal the structure of the discourse. Research on this area has shown the importance of discourse markers in communication for marking discourse structure, but almost little attention has been paid to their importance in written language, especially in International Law Texts. This paper looks at the use of discourse markers in a corpus of International Law investigating what discourse markers signal, and when they tend to be used in International Law Texts. Therefore, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, which ranges from macro-investigation by Wordsmith (Scott 1996) to a micro- discourse analytic examination, is used in the study. The results indicate that discourse markers serve as useful maneuvers to structure and organize International Law Texts. In the end, the study also discusses some possible pedagogical implications involved in preparing ESP learners to become communicatively more competent in their field of study.

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