AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 1. February  2023                                Pp.46-59

The Semantic and Pragmatic Functions of /bʕdɪn/ “بعدين” in Informal Arabic

Department of Applied Linguistics, College of Languages
Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


This study aims at investigating the functions of the informal Arabic discourse marker “بعدين” /bʕdɪn/. By figuring out these functions and highlighting the common used ones, this paper tries to help communicators to be aware of those functions in their communication and avoid any possibility of misunderstanding. “Twitter” was the main tool of collecting the data of this study. This social medium provided natural communication contexts that significantly assisted the analysis of this study. The dataset consisted of one hundred and five tweets containing /bʕdɪn/. Those tweets reflected texts written by native Arabic speakers from different nationalities. The analysis was guided by the relevance theory and the methodology of related literature. The findings of the study showed that /bʕdɪn/ has semantic meanings similar to the English adverbs “then” and “later.” It was used semantically as a temporal adverb putting actions in sequence or delaying a move to unspecified time in the future. /bʕdɪn/ was also used as a coherence marker supporting the value of the communicative situations. In this respect and based on the collected data, seven pragmatic functions were elicited in this study for /bʕdɪn/. Those functions were: a marker of orientation shift, a marker of result, a conditional marker, a marker of disagreement, a coordination marker meaning “but,” a marker of agreement and a marker of reason.
Keywords: /bʕdɪn/ “بعدين”, coherence marker, discourse marker, informal Arabic, relevance theory

Cite as:

Alqahtani, F. A. (2023). The Semantic and Pragmatic Functions of /bʕdɪn/ “بعدين” in Informal Arabic.  Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 7 (1). 46-59.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no1.4


Al Kayed, M. (2021). A Relevance-Theoretic Approach to the Discourse Marker hasa ‘now’ in Jordanian Arabic. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(Special Issue 2), 937-945. https://www.jlls.org/index.php/jlls/article/view/2192.

Alazzawie, A. (2014). The Discourse Marker wa in Standard Arabic—A Syntactic and Semantic Analysis. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4 (10), 2008-2015

Alharahsheh, A. M. (2013). The Pragmatic Functions and the Translatability of “Ťayib” in Jordanian Spoken Arabic. US-China Foreign Language, 11 (3), 196-202. https://doi.org/10.17265/1539-8080/2013.03.004

Alkhawaldeh, A. (2018). Discourse Functions of Kama in Arabic Journalistic Discourse From the Perspective of Rhetorical Structure Theory. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 7(3), 206, 206-213.

Alrajhi, M. (2019). The Meanings and Functions of ʔlħin in Informal Arabic in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation (IJLLT), 2 (5), 205-210

Alsager, H. N., Afzal, N., & Aldawood, A. A. (2020). Discourse Markers in Arabic and English Newspaper Articles: The Case of the Arabic Lakin and its English equivalent But. Arab World English Journal, (AWEJ) 11 (1), 154-165. https://awej.org/images/Volume11/Volume11Numbe1march2020/13.pdf

Alshammary, M. S. (2021). The Meaning and Functions of qSdk and yʕny as Discourse Markers in Saudi Arabic. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 11 (6), 717-722.

Bidaoui, A. (2016). Discourse markers of elaboration in Maghrebi and Egyptian dialects: a socio-pragmatic perspective. International Journey of Arabic Linguistics. 2 (1), 19-45

Blache, P. (2000). Constraints, Linguistic Theories, and Natural Language Processing. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Blakemore, D. (2002). Relevance and Linguistic Meaning: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse Markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Habib, R. (2021). The Use of Discourse Markers /yaʕni/ and /ʔinnu/: “I mean” in Syrian Arabic. Journal of Pragmatics. 178, 245-257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2021.03.025

Hamdan, J. M., & Abu Rumman, R. (2020). The Pragmatic Functions of Yahummalali in Jordanian Spoken Arabic. Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literatures, 12 (3), 327-345.

Holmes, J. (2013). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (4th ed.). England: Pearson Education.

Müller, S. (2005). Discourse Markers in Native and Non-native English Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Nordquist, R. (2020). Cataphora in English Grammar. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-cataphora-grammar-1689829.

Nordquist, R. (2020). Discourse Marker (DM) In English Grammar. https://www.thoughtco.com/discourse-marker-or-dm-1690463.

Scheler, G., & Fischer, K. (1997). The Many Functions of Discourse Particles: A computational model of pragmatic interpretation. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/2696981_The_Many_Functions_of_Discourse_Particles_A_Computational_Model_of_Pragmatic_Interpretation

Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D., & Hamilton, H. E. (2001). The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. USA, Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers.

Schiffrin, D. (1987). Discourse Markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schourup, L. (1999). Discourse markers. Lingua, 107(3), 227- 265.

Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance: Language and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Steel, C. P. (2015). The Four Principles of Interpersonal Communication. Communication Studies at Riverside City College. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/four-principles-interpersonal-communication-colin-steele.

Wilson, D. (2016). Relevance Theory: Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.

Yus, F. (2006). Relevance Theory. In K. Brown (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics (2nd ed.) 1-19. Amsterdam: Elsevier.


Dr. Fatmah Alqahtani is an assistant professor in Linguistics at the Department of Applied Linguistics, College of Languages, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University. She teaches linguistic courses for different levels at the department of Applied Linguistics. Her research interests include grammar, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5352-6757