Conversational discourse markers in stand-up comedy: "you know" and "sabem"

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this paper, conversational discourse markers you know and sabem are seen as a genre parameter of stand-up comedy – that is, a characteristic trait that constitutes the genre’s identity. This assumption is based on the fact that stand-up comedy is typically described as a conversational, intimate form of art, and, therefore, similar to any interactive spoken practice, it is rich in discourse markers. Assuming that discourse markers function on textual and interpersonal levels, the study seeks to analyze the functional range of you know and sabem in the genre of stand-up comedy in American English and European Portuguese. The results showed that there are three new functions for you know (e.g. to anticipate a shift between direct/indirect modes of speech, to signal personal experience and to address the audience) and one new function for sabem (to signal personal experience). These newly emerging functions are closely related to the specificity of the genre stand-up comedy, namely, its narrative, autobiographical and interactive nature. This conclusion thus indicates a direct relationship between genre and discourse markers’ functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarcadores discursivos
Subtitle of host publicationO português como referência contrastiva
EditorsIsabel Margarida Duarte, Rogelio Ponce de León
Place of PublicationBerlim
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-631-82139-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameTheorie und Vermittlung der Sprache


  • Discourse markers
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Genre


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