Mirjana Matea Kovač, Eva Jakupčević


As essential elements of pragmatic and communicative competence, discourse markers (DMs) can help L2 learners not only to sound more natural, but also to cope with the difficulties posed by speaking in a foreign language. However, research has mostly shown that L2 learners tend to use DMs differently to L1 speakers - less frequently, with a narrower range or for different functions. Due to the great importance of these linguistic elements in L2 speech, more information is needed about how learners from different linguistic backgrounds and in different contexts use DMs. The present study aims to expand the existing knowledge by providing insight into the DM use of 33 Croatian Engineering students (upper-intermediate L2 English speakers) in a repeated narrative task in English. The results point to a very poor performance when it comes to the range of DMs utilized, with the basic DM and overwhelmingly used to achieve coherence in the narratives. The reason for this result most likely lies in the unnatural input that learners are exposed to in the classroom environment, as well as the lack of focus on these units in L2 education and relevant materials. Thus, our results point to a necessity to address the inclusion of DMs both in EFL teacher education programmes, as well as programmes for L2 learners.


discourse markers; speech fluency; pragmatic competence; pragmatic fossilization

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