<i>Like</i> and other discourse markers

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This analysis of <i>like</i> as a discourse marker looks at its meaning relative to its position in the clause, and the discoursal context including the type of interaction. The data come from the Australian and New Zealand ICE corpora, and additional transcripts of Australian radio talkback programs. <i>Like</i> is the sixth most frequent discourse marker in the data, found in speech, both scripted and unscripted, but absent from writing. Clause-initial <i>like</i> can be glossed as &#8220;for example&#8221;; clause-medial <i>like</i> is a highlighter; clause-final <i>like</i> has to do with explanations and preventing hearers making incorrect inferences. Clause-final <i>like</i> is attested in novels by Scott and Hogg, and much older than generally thought. In the antipodean corpus data, <i>like</i> is used by speakers ranging from teenagers to 50-year-olds, including manual workers, skilled tradesmen, and various types of professionals.


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