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Discourse markers in spoken English: a corpus study of native speakers and Chinese non-native speakers

Huang, Lan Fen (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the use of discourse markers (DMs) in the speech of Chinese non-native speakers (NNSs) of English and native speakers (NSs), using corpus methodologies, the 'Linear Unit Grammar' analysis (Sinclair and Mauranen 2006) and text-based analyses. It reports that the DMs for analysis, 'like', 'oh', 'well', 'you know', 'I mean', 'you see', 'I think' and 'now', occur more frequently in the dialogic genres than in the monologic genres extracted from the three corpora, SECCL, MICASE and ICE-GB. The co-occurrence of DMs is taken as evidence to determine the categories for discussion with the suggested functions being secondary interpretations. Surprisingly, there are similarities in the use of DMs between Chinese NNSs and NSs. For the differences, some require NSs to become more tolerant and inclusive of the versions of English and some require pedagogical interventions for the Chinese NNSs. This thesis demonstrates that the use of DMs correlates with the genre, context, type of activity and identity of the speaker. All such factors affect the speakers' choice of a DM to use when giving priority to discourse organisation, fluency, the engagement of the listeners, the construction of the speaker‟s persona and the creation of solidarity.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hunston, Susan (1953-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of English, School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Subjects:GT Manners and customs
HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Philology. Linguistics
PE English
PI Oriental languages and literatures
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2969
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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