Main Article Content

Forms And Functions Relationships: Use Of Discourse Markers In Kabras Conversations

Victor M Makuto
Emilly A Ogutu
Eunice Nyamasyo


Spontaneously spoken natural Kabras discourse contains many instances of redundant interjections and backchannel utterances. These expressions otherwise referred to as discourse markers (henceforth DMs) have not received much attention and few systematic analyses have been made.

Items typically featured in this study include for English conversational particles such as well and oh, parenthetical lexicalised clauses such as you know and i mean and a variety of connective elements in speech and writing including so, after all and moreover. These expressions thought not to affect the propositional content of the utterances in which they occur.

On the basis of the analysis of spoken Kabras discourse, it’s noted that utterances such as sasa (now), yaani (i mean), nee koo (and) and lolakho (see) display characteristics of DMs. The corpus of this data consists of conversations conducted in Kabras a dialect of luhya, a language spoken on the western shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya. The corpus further shows that the expressions play a role in showing topic markers in conversations, being building blocks in utterance relations and also as polite markers.

It is widely seen that DMs are spurious expressions and so taken as manifestation of the irregularity and non systematic nature of spoken language, this study however demonstrates the importance of DMs in conversations. The principal issues in this paper are the forms and functions of DMs in conversations in Kabras with reference to frameworks in which DMs and other closely related items have been studied.

Key words: discourse markers, form function relations, kabras dialect, conversations