Topic-shift discourse markers in L2 Italian
Paths of acquisition by Spanish speakers
This paper examines how native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) of Italian approach topic organisation (topic shift, topic closure, digressions, topic recovery, and summary) in oral interactions. The research focuses on which discourse markers (DMs) are used when speakers try to organise discourse topics, and the differences between NS and NNS when performing such metadiscourse functions. The analysis is based on data from a spoken corpus designed to study conversational strategies in Spanish learners of L2 Italian. It reveals that the acquisition of metadiscourse functions progresses at different rates depending on the function: whereas learners have a good pragmatic competence in using DMs for the introduction of new topics in conversation, they have difficulties with other functions, such as topic closure or summary. In addition, the function of topic recovery after a digression is explicitly marked by NNS by DMs which are not found in native varieties.
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