Discourse Markers in Second Language Acquisition / Les marqueurs discursifs dans l’acquisition d’une langue étrangère
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
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This exploratory study intends to investigate the use of discourse markers (DM) in Italian L2 by learners with different L1s and different levels of competence (three at A2/B1 level and two at B2/C1 level). The analysis aims to describe the functions, the distribution, and some acoustic features of three DMs ( ‘but’ ‘then’therefore’) in semi-spontaneous conversations between the learners and two native speakers. The purpose is to determine the possible uses and the relationship between the forms and functions of the DMs in native and non-native speakers distinguishing three main macro-functions (interactional, cognitive and metadiscursive) activated by speakers on the basis of the characteristics of the cotext (acoustic profiles), the context and the communicative situation. Such an analysis suggests a possible sequence in the emergence of DMs in the speech of L2 learners with different levels of competence in the target language. This exploratory study adopts a functional approach (Bazzanella 1995a, b; 2006; Fisher 2006). The outcomes of the analysis show that learners use a variety of DM forms and functions, and that some functions only emerge in more proficient speakers. The structural context and, to a lesser degree, the acoustic profile prove to be reliable indicators of the spectrum of functions performed by DMs in verbal interaction.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): acoustic cues; communicative competence; discourse markers; functions; L2 learners

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