Share This Article:

Investigating the English Proficiency of Learners: A Corpus-Based Study of Contrastive Discourse Markers in China

Abstract Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:287KB) PP. 281-290
DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2015.53025    2,937 Downloads   3,630 Views  
Author(s)    Leave a comment

ABSTRACT

Discourse markers signal the relationship between the neighboring sentences. The present comparative study investigates the use of Contrastive Discourse Markers between Chinese English learners and native speakers based on corpus data. Special attention is allocated to but and however, since these two small words are the most popular discourse markers in Chinese English Learners and Native Speakers. Quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate that both groups prefer to employ discourse markers like but, although, (even) though, however, etc. when signaling a contrastive relationship between S1 and S2, though they have different priorities in different contextual situation; besides, but is overused significantly by Chinese English Learners to signal a contrastive relationship rather than add further information in context; lastly, Chinese English Learner usually employs however at the beginning of the sentence, while native speakers put it both at the beginning or middle of the sentences, which both signal the relationship between topics and messages. The findings also suggest that more detailed instructions should be delivered on the procedural meanings and syntactical positions of Contrastive Discourse Markers used in context.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Yang, G. and Chen, Y. (2015) Investigating the English Proficiency of Learners: A Corpus-Based Study of Contrastive Discourse Markers in China. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 5, 281-290. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2015.53025.

References

[1] Aijmer, K. (1996). Conversational Routines in English: Convention and Creativity. London, New York: Longman.
[2] Aijmer, K. (2004). Pragmatic Markers in Spoken Interlanguage. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 3, 173-190.
[3] Anscombre, C., & Ducrot, O. (1977). Deuxmais en Francais. Lingua, 43, 23-40.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0024-3841(77)90046-8
[4] Bell, D. M. (1998). Cancellative Discourse Markers: A Core/Periphery Approach. Pragmatics, 8, 515-541.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/prag.8.4.03bel
[5] Blakemore, D. (1987). Semantic Constraints on Relevance. Oxford: Blackwell.
[6] Blakemore, D. (1992). Understanding Utterances. Oxford: Blackwell.
[7] Blakemore, D. (2002). Relevance and Linguistic Meaning: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse Markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486456
[8] Feng, G. W. (2008). Pragmatic Markers in Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 1687-1718.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2008.05.012
[9] Fraser, B. (1985). Pragmatic Formatives. In J. Verschueren, & M. Bertuccelli-Papi (Eds.), The Pragmatic Perspective (pp. 179-194). Amsterdam: Benjamins
[10] Fraser, B. (1996). Pragmatic Markers. Pragmatics, 6, 167-190.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/prag.6.2.03fra
[11] Fraser, B. (1997). Contrastive Discourse Marker in English. In Y. Ziv, & A. Jucker (Eds.), Pragmatics and Beyond: Discourse Markers (pp. 301-326). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
[12] Fraser, B. (1999). What Are Discourse Markers? Journal of Pragmatics, 31, 931-952.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(98)00101-5
[13] Fraser, B. (2001). The Case of the Empty S1. Journal of Pragmatics, 33, 1625-1630.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(01)00024-8
[14] Fraser, B. (2006). Toward a Theory of Discourse Markers. In F. Kerstin (Ed.), Approaches to Discourse Particles (pp. 189-204). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
[15] Fraser, B., & Malamud-Makowski, M. (1996). English and Spanish Contrastive Discourse Markers. Language Science, 18, 863-881.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0388-0001(96)00052-6
[16] Hasselgren, A. (2002). Learner Corpora and Language Testing: Small Words as Markers of Learner Fluency. In S. Granger, J. Hung, & S. Petch-Tyson (Eds.), Computer-Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition, and Foreign Language Teaching (pp. 143-173). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
[17] Hussein, M. (2008). The Discourse Markers “But” in English and Standard Arabic: One Procedure and Different Implementations.
http://semarch.linguistics.fas.nyu.edu/Archive/TAyOTBkM/But%20as%20a%20General%20Procedure.pdf
[18] Lakoff, G. (1971). The Role of Deduction in Grammar. In J. Fillmore, & D. T. Langendoen (Eds.), Studies in Linguistic Semantics (pp. 62-70). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
[19] Liao, S. (2009). Variation in the Use of Discourse Markers by Chinese Teaching Assistants in the US. Journal of Pragmatics, 41, 1313-1328.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2008.09.026
[20] Phillipson, S., & Phillipson, S. N. (2012). Children’s Cognitive Ability and Their Academic Achievement: The Mediation Effects of Parental Expectations. Asian Pacific Education Review, 133, 495-508.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12564-011-9198-1
[21] Quirk, R. (1985). A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London and New York: Longman.
[22] Rouchota, V. (1996). Discourse Connectives: What Do They Link? UCL Working Papers in Linguistics, 8, 1-15.
[23] Redeker, G. (1990). Ideational and Pragmatic Markers of Discourse Structure. Journal of Pragmatics, 143, 367-381.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(90)90095-U
[24] Schiffrin, D. (1987). Discourse Markers. New York: Cambridge University Press.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511611841
[25] Schourup, L. (1999). Discourse Markers. Lingua, 107, 227-265.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0024-3841(96)90026-1
[26] Stubbs, M. (1983). Discourse Analysis: The Sociolinguistic Analysis of Natural Language. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
[27] Traugott, C. (1995). The Role of the Development of Discourse Makers in a Theory of Grammaticalization. Resource Document, Paper Presented at ICHL XII.
http://www.wata.cc/forums/uploaded/136_1165014660.pdf
[28] Wang, L. F., & Zhu, J. H. (2005). A Study on the Use of Discourse Markers in Chinese Students’ Oral English. Foreign Languages Research, 3, 40-48.
[29] Wei, M. (2011). Investigating the Oral Proficiency of English Learners in China: A Comparative Study of the Use of Pragmatic Markers. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 3455-3472.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2011.07.014
[30] Wu, Y. X., &Yu, G. D. (2003). Metapragmatic Analysis of Discourse Marker. Foreign Languages Education, 4, 16-19.

  
comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2019 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.