ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics



First Advisor

Laurel Stvan


This dissertation examines the use of discourse markers as a stance-taking resource in written discourse on abortion. Drawing from four corpora collected from editorials, blogs, Twitter, and Reddit, I focus on the discourse markers I mean, of course, okay, and well and their use in concessive repair sequences, as prefaces to constructed dialogue, and as interpersonal stance markers. Within the corpora, both concessive repair and constructed dialogue serve to reinforce a positive-self, negative-other evaluative split, although they differ in the types of stance objects that writers position themselves in relation to. Writers use concessive repair to evaluate distal stance objects - and, in particular, women as a broader social group - while within constructed dialogue there is a split between reported speech and reported thought, with reported speech being used to evaluate distal objects and reported thought evaluating proximal objects such as the writer’s previously held positions. Well-prefaced constructed dialogue, in particular, is used to convey negative attitudinal information when there is tension between the writer’s beliefs and those expressed in the constructed dialogue, and the discourse marker helps the writer to position and align themself to construct a specific identity. This dissertation shows, however, that stance-taking in abortion discourse is not a straightforward matter of expressing the writer’s personal opinions. Instead, the pattern of stance-taking with meta-stance markers and the use of discourse marker of course to coerce a sense of shared background knowledge indicate that writers also place emphasis on the construction of shared group membership in order to mitigate potential points of conflict.


Discourse markers, Stance, Discourse analysis, Corpus linguistics, Corpus-assisted discourse analysis, Abortion discourse, Political discourse, Mediated discourse


Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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