Edited by María de los Ángeles Gómez González and J. Lachlan Mackenzie
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 296] 2018
► pp. 145–170
The use of tag questions in the oral production of L2 English learners
Although tag questions (TQs) are a conspicuous and frequently discussed phenomenon of spoken English, little is known about their acquisition by L2 learners. Drawing on two spoken comparable corpora, this study discusses differences between Spanish learners’ and native speakers’ (NS) use of canonical tag questions (CTQs). Our results reveal that CTQs are significantly underused by Spanish learners as compared to their native counterparts. The reasons cannot be found in the learners’ L1, since underuse is pervasive in the 11 subcomponents of the Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage and CTQs are known to be more frequent in Spanish than in English. The rather low frequency of English CTQs in the Louvain Corpus of Native English Conversation as compared with a reference corpus (ICE-GB) points to context-related factors.