Vol. 32 No. 3 (2022): Issue 3/2022

Discourse Markers in Chinese and Italian: A Corpus-Driven Comparison of Ránhòu然后 and Poi

Sergio Conti
Roma Tre University
Giorgio Carella
Roma Tre University

Published 12/19/2022


  • Corpus-driven analysis,
  • Chinese discourse markers,
  • Italian discourse markers,
  • Ranhou,
  • Poi

How to Cite

Conti, S., & Carella, G. (2022). Discourse Markers in Chinese and Italian: A Corpus-Driven Comparison of Ránhòu然后 and Poi. L’Analisi Linguistica E Letteraria, 32(3). Retrieved from https://www.analisilinguisticaeletteraria.eu/index.php/ojs/article/view/511


The present study is a corpus-driven analysis comparing the Chinese discourse marker (DM) ránhòu 然后 (then) and its Italian equivalent poi. A total of 351 occurrences of ranhou (192) and poi (159) were extracted from a randomly selected sample of the CALLFRIENDS and LIP corpora, large collections of natural conversations between Chinese and Italian native speakers, respectively. Each corpus sample approximately consisted of 2.5h conversations. Based on the quantitative analysis of the data supported by qualitative evidence, the study highlights the interactional, metatextual, and cognitive functions of the two DMs, focusing on both differences and similarities. Our findings show that both expressions are significantly more used as DMs than to express temporality; however, they also display some specificities. For instance, ranhou often functions as a turn management device, while poi frequently occurs in clusters with other DMs, conveying the speakers’ attitude towards the utterance.


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