Analysing discourse relations in natural language: The case of space and time


Discourse relations are links between utterances and sentences or sentence parts. These can be implicit or explicit through markers such as because, before, but, etc. Thus, the causal discourse relation between the two clauses that is explicit in 'He fell because he stumbled over a stone' can be inferred in the sentence 'He stumbled over a stone and fell'. Much research in this field focuses on the range of ways in which these connections can be established and inferred by the recipient (or analyst). However, the use of such markers in discourse also shows how a speaker conceptualizes the relationships between various aspects of what they are saying. Whenever they occur in discourse, they are therefore reflections of the speakers' mind in this respect.

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