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The business of pragmatics: the case of discourse markers in the speech of students of Business English and English Linguistics

Lieven Buysse UGent (2011) ITL : INSTITUT VOOR TOEGEPASTE LINGUISTIEK. 161. p.10-30
abstract
This paper investigates how foreign language learners use discourse markers (such as so, well, you know, I mean) in English speech. These small words that do not contribute much, if anything at all, to the propositional content of a message but modify it in subtle ways, are often considered among the last elements acquired in a foreign language. This contribution reports on close scrutiny of a corpus of English-spoken interviews with Belgian native speakers of Dutch, half of whom are undergraduates majoring in Commercial Sciences and half of whom are majoring in English Linguistics, and also sets it off against a comparable native speaker corpus. The investigation shows that the language learners exhibit a clear preference for “operative discourse markers” and neglect or avoid “involvement discourse markers”. It is argued that in learner speech the former take on functions typically fulfilled by the latter to a greater extent than in native speech, and that in some cases the learners revert to a code-switching strategy to cater for their pragmatic needs, bringing markers from Dutch into their English speech. Finally, questions are raised as to the place of such pragmatic devices in foreign language learning.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
pragmatics, English as a Foreign Language, pragmatic markers, discourse markers, foreign language learning
journal title
ITL : INSTITUT VOOR TOEGEPASTE LINGUISTIEK
ITL, Inst. Toegep. linguist.
editor
Lieven Buysse UGent, Karoline Claes and Erwin Snauwaert
volume
161
issue title
Languages in Business Education
pages
10 - 30
ISSN
0019-0829
language
English
UGent publication?
no
classification
A3
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
2974036
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2974036
date created
2012-08-22 15:09:07
date last changed
2012-08-23 15:01:05
@article{2974036,
  abstract     = {This paper investigates how foreign language learners use discourse markers (such as so, well, you know, I mean) in English speech. These small words that do not contribute much, if anything at all, to the propositional content of a message but modify it in subtle ways, are often considered among the last elements acquired in a foreign language. This contribution reports on close scrutiny of a corpus of English-spoken interviews with Belgian native speakers of Dutch, half of whom are undergraduates majoring in Commercial Sciences and half of whom are majoring in English Linguistics, and also sets it off against a comparable native speaker corpus. The investigation shows that the language learners exhibit a clear preference for {\textquotedblleft}operative discourse markers{\textquotedblright} and neglect or avoid {\textquotedblleft}involvement discourse markers{\textquotedblright}. It is argued that in learner speech the former take on functions typically fulfilled by the latter to a greater extent than in native speech, and that in some cases the learners revert to a code-switching strategy to cater for their pragmatic needs, bringing markers from Dutch into their English speech. Finally, questions are raised as to the place of such pragmatic devices in foreign language learning.},
  author       = {Buysse, Lieven},
  editor       = {Buysse, Lieven and Claes, Karoline and Snauwaert, Erwin},
  issn         = {0019-0829},
  journal      = {ITL : INSTITUT VOOR TOEGEPASTE LINGUISTIEK},
  keyword      = {pragmatics,English as a Foreign Language,pragmatic markers,discourse markers,foreign language learning},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {10--30},
  title        = {The business of pragmatics: the case of discourse markers in the speech of students of Business English and English Linguistics},
  volume       = {161},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Buysse, Lieven. 2011. “The Business of Pragmatics: The Case of Discourse Markers in the Speech of Students of Business English and English Linguistics.” Ed. Lieven Buysse, Karoline Claes, and Erwin Snauwaert. Itl : Institut Voor Toegepaste Linguistiek 161: 10–30.
APA
Buysse, L. (2011). The business of pragmatics: the case of discourse markers in the speech of students of Business English and English Linguistics. (L. Buysse, K. Claes, & E. Snauwaert, Eds.)ITL : INSTITUT VOOR TOEGEPASTE LINGUISTIEK, 161, 10–30.
Vancouver
1.
Buysse L. The business of pragmatics: the case of discourse markers in the speech of students of Business English and English Linguistics. Buysse L, Claes K, Snauwaert E, editors. ITL : INSTITUT VOOR TOEGEPASTE LINGUISTIEK. 2011;161:10–30.
MLA
Buysse, Lieven. “The Business of Pragmatics: The Case of Discourse Markers in the Speech of Students of Business English and English Linguistics.” Ed. Lieven Buysse, Karoline Claes, & Erwin Snauwaert. ITL : INSTITUT VOOR TOEGEPASTE LINGUISTIEK 161 (2011): 10–30. Print.