The effect of text type on the use of so as a discourse particle

Phoenix W.Y. Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Discourse particles have received a considerable amount of scholarly attention in linguistic research. Although their use in specific text types has been discussed, few studies have actually attempted to look at the effect of text type on their use. Therefore, how the use of discourse particles is related to the situational context in which they are produced remains a largely unexplored area. In this article, the use of one of the most frequently occurring yet often overlooked discourse particles, so, in a number of monologic and dialogic texts is examined. Drawing on data from a spoken corpus of Hong Kong English, the present study shows that the frequency rates and functions of so as a discourse particle vary according to the text type in which it occurs. Findings from the study thus argue that the full range of functions realized by so as a discourse particle cannot be determined without taking into account the wide range of communicative events in which the particle is used. This highlights the fact that contextual cues are indispensable in the interpretation of the pragmatic meanings of discourse particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-372
Number of pages20
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Context
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Discourse analysis
  • Discourse markers
  • Discourse particles
  • So


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of text type on the use of so as a discourse particle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this