Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



Fluent L2 English speakers frequently use discourse markers (DMs) as a speech management strategy, but research has largely ignored how this develops across different proficiency levels and how it is related to immersive experiences. This study examines the developmental patterns of three DMs – , and  – in the speech of learners at A2-C1 in CEFR with and without immersive experiences in target language environments. The fluency-rated LINDSEI corpus (173 learners) and a parallel native corpus (50 speakers) provided approximately 350,000 tokens and 3,395 instances of the analyzed DMs. Overall, DM frequency (especially with and ) among C1 speakers increases with rising fluency levels up to almost native-like levels. Immersive experience correlates positively with overall and individual DM frequency (except for ). As the skillful use of DMs results in more fluent speech production, the didactic implications for L2 instructors should be developed.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Aijmer, Karin
    2011 “Well I’m Not Sure I Think… The Use of Well by Non-Native Speakers.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics16 (2): 231–254. 10.1075/ijcl.16.2.04aij
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.16.2.04aij [Google Scholar]
  2. Biber, Douglas, Edward Finegan, Stig Johansson, Susan Conrad, and Geoffrey Leech
    1999Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Brinton, Laurel J.
    1996Pragmatic Markers in English: Grammaticalization and Discourse Functions. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110907582
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110907582 [Google Scholar]
  4. Buysse, Lieven
    2012 “So as a Multifunctional Discourse Marker in Native and Learner Speech.” Journal of Pragmatics44 (13): 1764–1782. 10.1016/j.pragma.2012.08.012
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2012.08.012 [Google Scholar]
  5. Carlsen, Cecilie
    2012 “Proficiency Level – A Fuzzy Variable in Computer Learner Corpora.” Applied Linguistics33 (2): 161–183. 10.1093/applin/amr047
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amr047 [Google Scholar]
  6. Carter, Ronald
    2008 “Right, Well, OK, So, It’s Like, You Know, Isn’t It, I Suppose: Spoken Words, Written Words and Why Speaking Is Different.” InThe Sound and the Silence: Key Perspectives on Speaking and Listening and Skills for Life, ed. byCaroline Hudson, 11–23. Coventry: Quality Improvement Agency.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Carter, Ronald, and Michael McCarthy
    2006Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. 2017 “Spoken Grammar: Where Are We and Where Are We Going?” Applied Linguistics38 (1): 1–20. 10.1093/applin/amu080
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amu080 [Google Scholar]
  9. Cohen, Jacob
    1988Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Council of Europe
    Council of Europe 2001Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Council of Europe
    Council of Europe 2018Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Companion Volume with New Descriptors. Strasbourg Cedex: Council of Europe.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Crible, Ludivine
    2017 “Discourse Markers and (Dis)fluency across Registers: A Contrastive Usage-based Study in English and French.” PhD diss., Université de Berne.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Crible, Ludivine, Liesbeth Degand, and Gaëtanelle Gilquin
    2017 “The Clustering of Discourse Markers and Filled Pauses: A Corpus-Based French-English Study of (Dis)fluency.” Languages in Contrast17 (1): 69–95. 10.1075/lic.17.1.04cri
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lic.17.1.04cri [Google Scholar]
  14. De Cock, Sylvie
    2004 “Preferred Sequences of Words in NS and NNS Speech.” Belgian Journal of English Language and LiteraturesNew Series21: 225–246.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Dumont, Amandine
    2018 Fluency and Disfluency: A Corpus Study of Non-Native and Native Speaker (Dis)fluency Profiles. PhD thesis, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Fox Tree, Jean E., and Josef C. Schrock
    2002 “Basic Meanings of You Know and I Mean.” Journal of Pragmatics34 (6): 727–747. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(02)00027‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00027-9 [Google Scholar]
  17. Fraser, Bruce
    1990 “An Approach to Discourse Markers.” Journal of Pragmatics14 (3): 383–395. 10.1016/0378‑2166(90)90096‑V
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(90)90096-V [Google Scholar]
  18. Fuller, Janet M.
    2003 “Use of the Discourse Marker Like in Interviews.” Journal of Sociolinguistics7 (3): 365–377. 10.1111/1467‑9481.00229
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00229 [Google Scholar]
  19. Fung, Loretta, and Ronald Carter
    2007 “Discourse Markers and Spoken English: Native and Learner Use in Pedagogic Settings.” Applied Linguistics28 (3): 410–439. 10.1093/applin/amm030
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amm030 [Google Scholar]
  20. Gilquin, Gaëtanelle
    2008 “Hesitation Markers among EFL Learners: Pragmatic Deficiency or Difference?” InPragmatics and Corpus Linguistics: A Mutualistic Entente, ed. byJesús Romero-Trillo, 119–149. Berlin, Heidelberg and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. 2016 “Discourse Markers in L2 English: From Classroom to Naturalistic Input.” InNew Approaches to English Linguistics: Building Bridges, ed. byOlga Timofeeva, Anne-Christine Gardner, Alpo Honkapohja, and Sarah Chevalier, 213–249. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.177.09gil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.177.09gil [Google Scholar]
  22. Gilquin, Gaëtanelle, and Sylviane Granger
    2015 “Learner Language.” InThe Cambridge Handbook of English Corpus Linguistics, ed. byDouglas Biber and Rand Reppen, 418–435. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139764377.024
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139764377.024 [Google Scholar]
  23. Gilquin, Gaëtanelle, Sylvie De Cock, and Sylviane Granger
    (eds.) 2010LINDSEI Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage. Handbook and CD-ROM. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses Universitaires de Louvain.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Götz, Sandra
    2013Fluency in Native and Non-Native English Speech. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/scl.53
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.53 [Google Scholar]
  25. Götz, Sandra, and Joybrato Mukherjee
    2018 “Investigating the Effect of the Study Abroad Variable on Learner Output: A Pseudo-Longitudinal Study on Spoken German Learner English.” InLearner Corpus Research, ed. byVaclav Brezina, and Lynne Flowerdew, 47–65. London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Gráf, Tomáš
    2017 “The Story of the Learner Corpus LINDSEI_CZ.” Studie z Aplikované Lingvistiky [Studies in Applied Linguistics] 8 (2): 22–35.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Hasselgren, Angela
    2002 “Learner Corpora and Language Testing: Smallwords as Markers of Learner Fluency.” InComputer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching, ed. bySylviane Granger, Joseph Hung, and Stephanie Petch-Tyson, 143–173. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/lllt.6.11has
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.6.11has [Google Scholar]
  28. Hedge, Tricia
    1993 “Key Concepts in ELT.” ELT Journal47 (3): 275–277. 10.1093/elt/47.3.275
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/47.3.275 [Google Scholar]
  29. Hellermann, John, and Andrea Vergun
    2007 “Language Which Is Not Taught: The Discourse Marker Use of Beginning Adult Learners of English.” Journal of Pragmatics391: 157–179. 10.1016/j.pragma.2006.04.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2006.04.008 [Google Scholar]
  30. Hoey, Michael
    2002 “Spoken Discourse.” InMacmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners of American English, ed. byMichael Rundell, LA16–LA17. Oxford: Macmillan Education.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. House, Juliane
    2009 “Subjectivity in English as Lingua Franca Discourse: The Case of You Know.” Intercultural Pragmatics6 (2): 171–193. 10.1515/IPRG.2009.010
    https://doi.org/10.1515/IPRG.2009.010 [Google Scholar]
  32. Housen, Alex, Folkert Kuiken, and Ineke Vedder
    (eds.) 2012Dimensions of L2 Performance and Proficiency: Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency in SLA. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/lllt.32
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.32 [Google Scholar]
  33. Huang, Lan-fen
    2014 “Constructing the Taiwanese Component of the Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage (LINDSEI).” Taiwan Journal of TESOL11 (1): 31–74.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. 2019 “A Corpus-Based Exploration of the Discourse Marker Well in Spoken Interlanguage.” Language and Speech62 (3): 570–593. 10.1177/0023830918798863
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0023830918798863 [Google Scholar]
  35. Huang, Lan-fen, and Tomáš Gráf
    (2021) “Expanding LINDSEI to Spoken Learner English from Several L1s across CEFR Levels.” Corpora16 (2): 271–285. 10.3366/cor.2021.0220
    https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2021.0220 [Google Scholar]
  36. Huang, Lan-fen, Simon Kubelec, Nicole Keng, and Lung-hsun Hsu
    2018 “Evaluating CEFR Rater Performance through the Analysis of Spoken Learner Corpora.” Language Testing in Asia8 (14): 1–17. 10.1186/s40468‑018‑0069‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s40468-018-0069-0 [Google Scholar]
  37. Jones, Christian, Shelley Byrne, and Nicola Halenko
    2018Successful Spoken English: Findings from Learner Corpora. Oxon: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Leech, Nancy L., Karen C. Barrett, and George A. Morgan
    2005SPSS for Intermediate Statistics: Use and Interpretation (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Liao, Silvie
    2009 “Variation in the Use of Discourse Markers by Chinese Teaching Assistants in the US.” Journal of Pragmatics41 (7): 1313–1328. 10.1016/j.pragma.2008.09.026
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2008.09.026 [Google Scholar]
  40. Lin, Yen-liang
    2016 “Discourse Marking in Spoken Intercultural Communication between British and Taiwanese Adolescent Learners.” Pragmatics26 (2): 221–245. 10.1075/prag.26.2.03lin
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.26.2.03lin [Google Scholar]
  41. Liu, Binmei
    2016 “Effect of L2 Exposure: From a Perspective of Discourse Markers.” Applied Linguistics Review7 (1): 73–98. 10.1515/applirev‑2016‑0004
    https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-0004 [Google Scholar]
  42. Lomax, Richard G., and Debbie L. Hahs-Vaughn
    2012Statistical Concepts – A Second Course (4th ed.). New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Mora, Joan C., and Margalida Valls-Ferrer
    2012 “Oral Fluency, Accuracy, and Complexity in Formal Instruction and Study Abroad Learning Contexts.” TESOL Quarterly46 (4): 610–641. 10.1002/tesq.34
    https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.34 [Google Scholar]
  44. Müller, Simone
    2005Discourse Markers in Native and Non-Native English Discourse (Vol.1381). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.138
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.138 [Google Scholar]
  45. Neary-Sundquist, Colleen
    2014 “The Use of Pragmatic Markers across Proficiency Levels in Second Language Speech.” Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching4 (4): 637–663. 10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.4.4
    https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.4.4 [Google Scholar]
  46. O’Keeffe, Anne, Michael McCarthy, and Ronald Carter
    2007From Corpus to Classroom: Language Use and Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511497650
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497650 [Google Scholar]
  47. Pallant, Julie
    2011SPSS Survival Manual (4th ed.). Crows Nest NSW: Allen and Unwin.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Polat, Brittany
    2011 “Investigating Acquisition of Discourse Markers through a Developmental Learner Corpus.” Journal of Pragmatics431: 3745–3756. 10.1016/j.pragma.2011.09.009
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2011.09.009 [Google Scholar]
  49. Prodromou, Luke
    2008English as a Lingua Franca: A Corpus-Based Analysis. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Romero-Trillo, Jesús
    2002 “The Pragmatic Fossilization of Discourse Markers in Non-Native Speakers of English.” Journal of Pragmatics34 (6): 769–784. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(02)00022‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00022-X [Google Scholar]
  51. Rühlemann, Christoph
    2019Corpus Linguistics for Pragmatics. Oxon: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Schiffrin, Deborah
    1987Discourse Markers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511611841
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511611841 [Google Scholar]
  53. Schourup, Lawrence
    1999 “Discourse Markers.” Lingua1071: 227–265. 10.1016/S0024‑3841(96)90026‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0024-3841(96)90026-1 [Google Scholar]
  54. Scott, Mike
    2016WordSmith Tools (Version 7). Stroud: Lexical Analysis Software.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Svartvik, Jan
    1980 “Well in Conversation.” InStudies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk, ed. bySidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik, 167–177. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Tabachnick, Barbara G., and Linda S. Fidell
    2012Using Multivariate Statistics (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Tottie, Gunnel
    2011 “Uh and Um as Sociolinguistic Markers in British English.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics16 (2): 173–197. 10.1075/ijcl.16.2.02tot
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.16.2.02tot [Google Scholar]
  58. Tsai, Pei-shu., and Wo-hsin Chu
    2017 “The Use of Discourse Markers among Mandarin Chinese Teachers, and Chinese as a Second Language and Chinese as a Foreign Language Learners.” Applied Linguistics38 (5): 638–665.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Vygotsky, Lev Semenovich
    1978Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Wei, Ming
    2011 “A Comparative Study of the Oral Proficiency of Chinese Learners of English across Task Functions: A Discourse Marker Perspective.” Foreign Language Annals44 (4): 674–691. 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2011.01156.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2011.01156.x [Google Scholar]
  61. Wolk, Christoph, Sandra Götz, and Katja Jäschke
    2021 “Possibilities and Drawbacks of Using an Online Application for Semi-Automatic Corpus Analysis to Investigate Discourse Markers and Alternative Fluency Variables.” Corpus Pragmatics51: 1–30. 10.1007/s41701‑019‑00072‑x
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s41701-019-00072-x [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): CEFR; discourse marker; immersive experience; learner corpus; LINDSEI; speech fluency
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