Abstract Discourse markers (DMs) are of particular interest in the field of second language acquisition because a speaker’s use of L2 DMs may be good indicators for measuring the effect of exposure to the target language community on his/her L2 pragmatic competence. Previous studies lack detailed comparisons of the use of DMs in terms of frequency, variety, and function by a higher exposure group and a lower exposure group of L2 users. Previous studies lack native English speakers as baseline data as well. The current study investigates the effect of English exposure on the use of English DMs by Chinese speakers of English studying in the U.S. Data for the study were gathered using individual sociolinguistic interviews with five native English speakers and ten Chinese speakers of English at the University of Florida. The L2 exposure amount was assessed according to their total hours of natural/social English exposure since beginning to study English. Results showed that the higher exposure group used DMs at a higher rate and a wider variety than the lower exposure group. The L2 speakers acquired six native-like markers ( and, like, just, y’know, sort of/kind of , and I mean ) at different rates. And was the easiest marker to acquire by both exposure groups. Like and y’know showed clear differences in terms of frequency and function between the two exposure groups.
Applied Linguistics Review – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 1, 2016