Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-3835
  • E-ISSN: 2542-3843
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Coherence relations are expressed differently across languages, often leading to language learners misusing discourse connectives. We argue that the ability to detect these errors crucially depends on the coherence relation under scrutiny, as errors may remain unnoticed when the relation is clause-internal and marked with a highly optional connective. We focus, therefore, on specifications, a relation that German-speaking learners sometimes struggle to correctly indicate when writing in French. We assessed whether non-native readers detect this error and show preferences for either explicit or implicit marking of specifications. Findings show that non-native speakers were generally able to detect the error in a sentence-evaluation task but did not react to it in a self-paced-reading task, contrary to native speakers. They also judged implicit specifications as more correct than explicitly marked specifications. We conclude that non-native speakers do not always benefit from connectives during text processing, especially when they are highly optional.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Altenberg, B., & Tapper, M.
    (1998) The use of adverbial connectors in advanced Swedish learners’ written English. InS. Granger. (Ed.), Learner English on Computer, (pp.80–93). Milton Park: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Asr, F. T., & Demberg, V.
    (2012a) Implicitness of discourse relations. InProceedings of COLING 2012 : Technical Papers (pp.2669-2684). Retrieved fromhttps://aclanthology.org/C12-1163.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  3. (2012b) Measuring the Strength of Linguistic Cues for Discourse Relations. In24th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (pp.33-42). Retrieved fromhttps://aclanthology.org/W12-4703.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Baayen, R. H.
    (2008) Analyzing linguistic data: A practical introduction to statistics using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511801686
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801686 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bates, D., Mächler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S.
    (2014) Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models using lme4. ArXiv:1406.5823 [Stat]. Retrieved fromarxiv.org/abs/1406.5823
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Blakemore, D.
    (1993) The relevance of reformulations. Language and Literature, 2(2), 101–120. 10.1177/096394709300200202
    https://doi.org/10.1177/096394709300200202 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bolton, K., Nelson, G., & Hung, J.
    (2002) A corpus-based study of connectors in student writing: Research from the International Corpus of English in Hong Kong (ICE-HK). International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 7(2), 165–182. 10.1075/ijcl.7.2.02bol
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.7.2.02bol [Google Scholar]
  8. Bras, M., Draoulec, A. L., & Asher, N.
    (2009) A Formal Analysis of the French Temporal Connective alors. Oslo Studies in Language, 1(1). 10.5617/osla.10
    https://doi.org/10.5617/osla.10 [Google Scholar]
  9. Brysbaert, M.
    (2013) Lextale_FR a fast, free, and efficient test to measure language proficiency in French. Psychologica Belgica, 53(1), 23–37. 10.5334/pb‑53‑1‑23
    https://doi.org/10.5334/pb-53-1-23 [Google Scholar]
  10. Cho, J.
    (2020) Online processing and offline judgments of L2-English articles. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. 10.1075/lab.18053.cho
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.18053.cho [Google Scholar]
  11. Clahsen, H., & Felser, C.
    (2006) How native-like is non-native language processing?Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(12), 564–570. 10.1016/j.tics.2006.10.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2006.10.002 [Google Scholar]
  12. Crewe, W. J.
    (1990) The illogic of logical connectives. ELT Journal, 44(4), 316–325. 10.1093/elt/44.4.316
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/44.4.316 [Google Scholar]
  13. Crible, L., Wetzel, M., & Zufferey, S.
    (2021) Lexical and structural cues to discourse processing in first and second language. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1–16. 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.685491
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.685491 [Google Scholar]
  14. Crosson, A. C., & Lesaux, N. K.
    (2013) Does knowledge of connectives play a unique role in the reading comprehension of English learners and English-only students?Journal of Research in Reading, 36(3), 241–260. 10.1111/j.1467‑9817.2011.01501.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9817.2011.01501.x [Google Scholar]
  15. Cuenca, M. -J.
    (2003) Two ways to reformulate: A contrastive analysis of reformulation markers. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(7), 1069–1093. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(03)00004‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(03)00004-3 [Google Scholar]
  16. Dal Negro, S., & Fiorentini, I.
    (2014) Reformulation in bilingual speech: Italian cioè in German and Ladin. Journal of Pragmatics, 74, 94–108. 10.1016/j.pragma.2014.09.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2014.09.002 [Google Scholar]
  17. Das, D.
    (2014) Signalling of coherence relations in discourse [Doctoral dissertation, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby]. Institutional Repository SFU. Retrieved fromsummit.sfu.ca/item/14446
  18. Das, D., & Taboada, M.
    (2018) RST Signalling Corpus: A corpus of signals of coherence relations. Language Resources and Evaluation, 52(1), 149–184. 10.1007/s10579‑017‑9383‑x
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10579-017-9383-x [Google Scholar]
  19. Degand, L., & Sanders, T.
    (2002) The impact of relational markers on expository text comprehension in L1 and L2. Reading and writing, 15(7), 739–757. 10.1023/A:1020932715838
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020932715838 [Google Scholar]
  20. Degand, L., & Hadermann, P.
    (2009) Structure narrative et connecteurs temporels en français langue seconde. InReprésentations du sens linguistique IV (Vol.78, pp.19–34). Helsinki : Société Néophilologique de Helsinki.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Del Saz Rubio, M., & Fraser, B.
    (2003) Reformulation in English. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved frompeople.bu.edu/bfraser/
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Ellis, R.
    (2004) The Definition and Measurement of L2 Explicit Knowledge. Language Learning, 54(2), 227–275. 10.1111/j.1467‑9922.2004.00255.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2004.00255.x [Google Scholar]
  23. (2006) Modelling Learning Difficulty and Second Language Proficiency: The Differential Contributions of Implicit and Explicit Knowledge. Applied Linguistics, 27(3), 431–463. 10.1093/applin/aml022
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/aml022 [Google Scholar]
  24. Field, Y., & Yip, O. Y. L. M.
    (1992) A Comparison of Internal Conjunctive Cohesion in the English Essay Writing of Cantonese Speakers and Native Speakers of English. RELC Journal, 23(1), 15–28. 10.1177/003368829202300102
    https://doi.org/10.1177/003368829202300102 [Google Scholar]
  25. Fox, J., & Weisberg, S.
    (2018) An R Companion to Applied Regression. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Granger, S., & Tyson, S.
    (1996) Connector usage in the English essay writing of native and non-native EFL speakers of English. World Englishes, 15(1), 17–27. 10.1111/j.1467‑971X.1996.tb00089.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971X.1996.tb00089.x [Google Scholar]
  27. Haastrup, K.
    (1989) The learner as word processor. In: Nation, I. S., & Carter, R. (Eds.). Vocabulary acquisition (pp.34–46). Amsterdam: AILA Review.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Halliday, M. A. K., & Hasan, R.
    (1976) Cohesion in English. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Hartnett
    (1986) Static and dynamic cohesion: Signals of thinking in writing. Functional Approaches to Writing. Research Perspectives, London: Frances Pinter.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Jakubíček, M., Kilgarriff, A., Kovář, V., Rychlý, P., & Suchomel, V.
    (2013) The TenTen Corpus Family. In7th International Corpus Linguistics Conference CL 2013. Lancaster, 2013. p.125–127. Retrieved fromhttps://is.muni.cz/publication/1120431/en/The-TenTen-Corpus-Family/Jakubicek-Kilgarriff-Kovar-Rychly
  31. Janke, V., & Kolokonte, M.
    (2015) False cognates: The effect of mismatch in morphological complexity on a backward lexical translation task. Second Language Research, 31(2), 137–156. 10.1177/0267658314545836
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658314545836 [Google Scholar]
  32. Jiang, N.
    (2013) Conducting Reaction Time Research in Second Language Studies. Milton Park: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203146255
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203146255 [Google Scholar]
  33. (Ed.) (2021) Studies of Bilingual Processing Presented to Kenneth I. Forster. Special Issue. Journal of Second Language Studies4(2). 200–411. 10.1075/jsls.4.2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jsls.4.2 [Google Scholar]
  34. Kanno, Y.
    (1989) The Use of Connectives in English Academic Papers Written by Japanese Students. MITA Working Papers in Psycholinguistics,Volume2, Volume 2. Retrieved fromhttps://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED358721
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Kaushanskaya, M., Blumenfeld, H. K., & Marian, V.
    (2019) The Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire (LEAP-Q): Ten years later. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1–6. 10.1017/S1366728919000038
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728919000038 [Google Scholar]
  36. Kilgarriff, A., Baisa, V., Bušta, J., Jakubíček, M., Kovář, V., Michelfeit, J., Rychlý, P., & Suchomel, V.
    (2014) The Sketch Engine: Ten years on. Lexicography, 1(1), 7–36. 10.1007/s40607‑014‑0009‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s40607-014-0009-9 [Google Scholar]
  37. Koehn, P.
    (2005) Europarl: A parallel corpus for statistical machine translation. InMT summit, 5, 79–86.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Komsta, L., & Novomestky, F.
    (2015) Moments, cumulants, skewness, kurtosis and related tests. R package version, 14. Retrieved fromcran.r-project.org/web/packages/moments/moments.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Lamiroy, B.
    (1994) Pragmatic connectives and L2 acquisition: The case of French and Dutch. Journal of Pragmatics, 4(2), 183–201. 10.1075/prag.4.2.01lam
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.4.2.01lam [Google Scholar]
  40. Lenth, R.
    (2018) Package ‘lsmeans’. The American Statistician, 34(4), 216–221.s. 10.18637/jss.v069.i01
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v069.i01 [Google Scholar]
  41. Lyu, S., Tu, J. -Y., & Lin, C. -J. C.
    (2020) Processing Plausibility in Concessive and Causal Relations: Evidence from Self-Paced Reading and Eye-Tracking. Discourse Processes, 57(4), 320–342. 10.1080/0163853X.2019.1680089
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2019.1680089 [Google Scholar]
  42. Murray, J. D.
    (1994) Logical connectives and local coherence. In: R. F. Lorch & E. 1. O’Brien. (Eds.), Sources of cohesion in text comprehension (pp.107–125). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Murray, J. D.
    (1997) Connectives and narrative text: The role of continuity. Memory & Cognition, 25(2), 227–236. 10.3758/BF03201114
    https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03201114 [Google Scholar]
  44. Prasad, R., Dinesh, N., Lee, A., Miltsakaki, E., Robaldo, L., Joshi, A., & Webber, B.
    (2008, May). The Penn Discourse TreeBank 2.0. InProceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'08) (pp.2961-2968). Retrieved fromwww.lrec-conf.org/proceedings/lrec2008/pdf/754_paper.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Peirce, J., Gray, J. R., Simpson, S., MacAskill, M., Höchenberger, R., Sogo, H., Kastman, E., & Lindeløv, J. K.
    (2019) PsychoPy2: Experiments in behavior made easy. Behavior Research Methods, 51(1), 195–203. 10.3758/s13428‑018‑01193‑y
    https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-018-01193-y [Google Scholar]
  46. R Core Team
    R Core Team (2020) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Retrieved fromhttps://www.R-project.org/
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Sanders, T.
    (2005) Coherence, causality and cognitive complexity in discourse. InProceedings/Actes SEM-05, First International Symposium on the exploration and modelling of meaning (pp.105–114). Toulouse: University of Toulouse-le-Mirail.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Sanders, T. J. M., Spooren, W. P. M., & Noordman, L. G. M.
    (1992) Toward a taxonomy of coherence relations. Discourse Processes, 15(1), 1–35. 10.1080/01638539209544800
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539209544800 [Google Scholar]
  49. Scholman, M. C. J., Demberg, V., & Sanders, T. J. M.
    (2020) Individual differences in expecting coherence relations: Exploring the variability in sensitivity to contextual signals in discourse. Discourse Processes, 1–18. 10.1080/0163853X.2020.1813492
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2020.1813492 [Google Scholar]
  50. Stede, M., & Umbach, C.
    (1998, August). DiMLex: A lexicon of discourse markers for text generation and understanding. In36th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and 17th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Volume2 (pp.1238–1242). 10.3115/980691.980771
    https://doi.org/10.3115/980691.980771 [Google Scholar]
  51. Tapper, M.
    (2005) Connectives in advanced Swedish EFL learners’ written English–preliminary results. The Department of English: Working Papers in English Linguistics, 5, 116–144. Retrieved fromurn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:du-28727
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Taboada, M.
    (2006) Discourse markers as signals (or not) of rhetorical relations. Journal of Pragmatics, 38(4), 567–592. 10.1016/j.pragma.2005.09.010
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2005.09.010 [Google Scholar]
  53. van den Bosch, L. J., Segers, E., & Verhoeven, L.
    (2018) Online processing of causal relations in beginning first and second language readers. Learning and Individual Differences, 61, 59–67. 10.1016/j.lindif.2017.11.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2017.11.007 [Google Scholar]
  54. Wetzel, M., Zufferey, S., & Gygax, P.
    (2020) Second Language Acquisition and the Mastery of Discourse Connectives: Assessing the Factors That Hinder L2-Learners from Mastering French Connectives. Languages, 5(3), 35. 10.3390/languages5030035
    https://doi.org/10.3390/languages5030035 [Google Scholar]
  55. Xu, X., Chen, Q., Panther, K.-U., & Wu, Y.
    (2018) Influence of Concessive and Causal Conjunctions on Pragmatic Processing: Online Measures from Eye Movements and Self-Paced Reading. Discourse Processes, 55(4), 387–409. 10.1080/0163853X.2016.1272088
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2016.1272088 [Google Scholar]
  56. Zufferey, S., & Gygax, P. M.
    (2017) Processing Connectives with a Complex Form-Function Mapping in L2: The Case of French “En Effet.”Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1198. 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01198
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01198 [Google Scholar]
  57. Zufferey, S., Mak, W., Degand, L., & Sanders, T.
    (2015) Advanced learners’ comprehension of discourse connectives: The role of L1 transfer across on-line and off-line tasks. Second Language Research, 31(3), 389–411. 10.1177/0267658315573349
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267658315573349 [Google Scholar]
  58. Zufferey, S., & Gygax, P.
    (2020) “Roger Broke His Tooth. <However> , He Went to the Dentist”: Why Some Readers Struggle to Evaluate Wrong (and Right) Uses of Connectives. Discourse Processes, 57(2), 184–200. 10.1080/0163853X.2019.1607446
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2019.1607446 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error