The Prosody of Discourse Makers alors and et in French: A Corpus-Based Study on Multiple Speaking Styles

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11096)


In this study, we investigate the prosodic characteristics of two French discourse markers (DMs), alors and et. Our study is based on a 8-h corpus covering 8 different speaking styles, with an average of 10 speakers per communicative situation. The tokens were classified depending on whether they are being used as discourse markers (DMs) or not; additionally in the case of et used as a conjunction, the type of the co-ordinated syntactic elements was identified. An automated prosodic analysis of all occurrences was performed. Results show that the use of et as a DM was more prevalent in non-planned speech; silent pauses preceded occurrences of alors and et, both as DMs and as non-DMs; the difference in silent pause duration, in the DM uses vs in the non-DM uses, was not statistically significant for alors and was statistically significant for et; DMs did not systematically constitute a separate prosodic unit; a strong prosodic boundary differentiates between the use of et as a DM or as a co-ordinating conjunction between verb phrases and subordinate clauses, and its other non-DM uses.


Prosody Discourse markers Corpus linguistics French 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Language Sciences and Metrology UnitUniversité de MonsMonsBelgium

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