The Interpretation of Discourse markers ya 'yes' and nggak 'no' in Indonesian

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Ya and nggak are considered two of the most frequently used discourse markers in Indonesian conversation. Their meaning may seem straightforward, namely to express agreement and disagreement respectively, but in everyday conversations, several other functions are possible. Nevertheless, the two discourse markers have not received much attention in Indonesian literature in recent years, especially nggak. This thesis fills the gap by examining and exploring the uses of ya and nggak in Indonesian, and comparing them with yes and no in English, and ja and nee in Dutch. By analyzing the contexts in which ya and nggak are used in eight YouTube videos, numerous categories of interpretations can be found. The data reveals that beyond their core meanings, ya and nggak, just like yes and no in English and ja and nee in Dutch, appear to have some special uses. These uses, however, can be regarded to have certain common features. The proper interpretation of ya and nggak highly depends on the utterances preceeding or following them. Ya and nggak have the same major function to establish coherence relations between utterances. They have many similarities as yes and no in English, and ja and nee in Dutch although few differences exist. Ultimately, the findings of this study expand the discussion on discourse markers in Indonesian literature.
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