Arguing in English and French asynchronous online discussion

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Citation: Diana M. Lewis (Nov/2005) Arguing in English and French asynchronous online discussion. Journal of Pragmatics (Volume 37) (RSS)
DOI (original publisher): 10.1016/j.pragma.2005.02.014
Semantic Scholar (metadata): 10.1016/j.pragma.2005.02.014
Sci-Hub (fulltext): 10.1016/j.pragma.2005.02.014
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): Arguing in English and French asynchronous online discussion
Tagged: pragmatics (RSS), linguistics (RSS), discourse-markers (RSS), concession (RSS), contrast (RSS), discourse analysis (RSS), CMC (RSS), online communication (RSS), online journalism (RSS), discussions (RSS), online argumentation (RSS), political discourse (RSS), online news (RSS)


See the summary of Discourse-marking of concession and contrast in asynchronous online discussion; this journal article refines and updates that conference paper.

Substantive changes: Table 4 adds the timestamp to indicate the pace of the discussion from Le Monde. "Message no. 14 is the first to introduce the first person and second person pronouns" and subsequently a dialogue between two participants develops.

Crystal 2001 is introduced for additional discussion of topic decay while disrupted adjacency is discussed.

"Online, it is only once a discussion has got underway and has become more conversational, in the sense of message directed at particular participants, that reactive message openings begin to appear, often in the form of discourse markers that register a relation between the upcoming point of view and another post."

Position statements

A new section on position statements clarifies the argumentation structures such as position + support. The previous examples are classified in this manner and additional examples are supplied. Lexical markers (such as "for example") may be (but are not always) used to introduce the evidence.

Epistemic expressions

More space is devoted to the discussion of concession structures and particularly epistemic expressions, which can be multifunctional; this provides a better link to the case study of "of course" and "bien sûr" next presented.


Online forums' "real dialogic nature" is presented as a further explanation for the increased prevalence of the concession markers, beyond their use in marking irony. "The monologic/dialogic distinction may be more salient to writers/speakers than the mode distinction."

Selected references

  • Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, Thompson, Sandra A., 2000. Concessive patterns in conversation. In: Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, Kortmann, Bernd (Eds.), Cause–Condition–Concession–Contrast. Cognitive and Discourse Perspectives. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 381–410.
  • Crystal, David, 2001. Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.