||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Discourse marker. (Discuss) Proposed since July 2012.|
In linguistics, a discourse particle is a lexeme or particle which has no direct semantic meaning in the context of a sentence, having rather a pragmatic function: it serves to indicate the speaker's attitude, or to structure their interactions with other participants in a conversation. Discourse particles are primarily a feature of spoken language; in written language they indicate an informal or jocular tone.
Examples in English:
- Used to heighten the speaker's attitude; often one of disagreement or surprise:
- well; for example, used in "Well, I wouldn't say that." or "Well, look who it is!"
- you know (often spelled "y'know" or "ya know"); for example, in "It's not as easy as that, y'know."
- Used to diminish the effect of otherwise exaggerated or intense language:
- like; for example, used in "It can drive some parents, like, insane."
- Hansen, Maj-Britt Mosegaard (1998). The Function of Discourse Particles: A study with special reference to spoken standard French. Philadelphia: Benjamins. ISBN 1-55619-815-9.