Publication details [#54386]

Aijmer, Karin. 2011. Well I'm not sure I think… The use of well by non-native speakers. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 16 (2) : 231–254.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Pragmatic markers are an important part of the grammar of conversation and not simply markers of disfluency. They have a number of functions that help the speaker to organise the conversation and to express feelings and attitudes. Advanced EFL learners use frequent pragmatic markers such as well. However their use of well diverges from the native speaker norm. The present study uses data from the Swedish component of the LINDSEI corpus and its native speaker counterpart (LOCNEC) to examine similarities and differences between native and non-native speakers. The overall picture is that Swedish learners overuse well, although there are considerable individual differences. Thus learners use well above all as a fluency device to cope with speech management problems but underuse it for attitudinal purposes. Pragmatic markers cannot be taught in the same way as other lexical items but it is important to discuss how and where they are used.