Discourse marking in spoken intercultural communication between British and Taiwanese adolescent learners

Yen-Liang Lin


This study investigates and compares the use of discourse markers (DMs) by native speakers and learners of English based on a corpus of adolescent intercultural exchange students. Thestudy employs a discourse analytical approach, in whichFung and Carter’s (2007)multi-category framework is appliedwith a view to examiningDMs used bya group of Taiwanese and British adolescentsin an intercultural setting.The analytical frameworkcontains four main functional categories: Interpersonal, referential, structural and cognitive DMs. Each DM was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively in order to identifythe functions it serves in its original contextandtofurther reveal the different uses of DMs between Taiwanese and British participants. The findings demonstrate that the DMs used by both groups of participants serve the fourcentral functions,andin particularTaiwanese participants display a significant use of interpersonal (e.g., yeah, oh) and structural DMs (e.g., so, okay), while British participants have a significantly higher usage of referential (e.g., coz/because, and) and cognitive DMs (e.g., like, well). The results of this study have direct pedagogical implications that can enhance the teaching of English as a Foreign Language (EFL)to better prepare learners for real life communication scenarios.

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