Discourse markers as metaphor signalling devices in psychotherapeutic talk

Dennis Zhiming Tay

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses how metaphors and discourse markers interact as co-occurring features in examples of psychotherapeutic communication. I suggest that discourse markers, which flag relations between discourse segments, can function as metaphor signalling/tuning devices in extended metaphors. I illustrate how discourse markers occur at strategic junctures of metaphoric talk where therapeutic discourse objectives, such as communicating abstract concepts, are developed and advanced. This broadens the existing analytic focus from the signalling of clause level metaphors to extended metaphors situated within the larger discourse context. My findings affirm the programmatic notion that metaphors are as much discursive as they are cognitive, and point towards how the adroit use of communicative resources such as metaphors and discourse markers might benefit psychotherapeutic practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalLanguage and Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Discourse markers
  • Metaphor
  • Psychotherapy
  • Signalling devices
  • Tuning devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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