Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 June 2021
This chapter is concerned with what we know about the status and the history of discourse markers. The chapter provides a detailed discussion of the various hypotheses that have been proposed to account for the rise of discourse markers. It is argued that none of those hypotheses is entirely satisfactory, pointing out a number of shortcomings characterizing such earlier approaches. The conclusion reached in the chapter is that discourse markers exhibit a catalog of grammatical properties that are hard to explain on the basis of those approaches.