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LINGUIST List 24.3232

Fri Aug 09 2013

Diss: Applied Ling, Lang Acq, Pragmatics, Text/Corpus Ling: Liu: 'Register Awareness and English Language Learning ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 09-Aug-2013
From: Li-E Liu <anneliu0407gmail.com>
Subject: Register Awareness and English Language Learning: The case of multi-word discourse markers
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Institution: University of Nottingham
Program: School of English Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Li-E Liu

Dissertation Title: Register Awareness and English Language Learning: The case of multi-word discourse markers

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition
                            Pragmatics
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Svenja Adolphs
Ronald Carter

Dissertation Abstract:

Research in L2 learners' use of discourse markers (DMs), which largely
focuses on single-word DMs and reports learners' overuse or underuse
tendency, generally concludes that L2 learners need a keener register
awareness in this regard. This lack of awareness in using DMs in accordance
with the appropriate register, however, is not further pursued. Although
extensive studies have been carried out in examining multi-word discourse
markers (MDMs), researchers have exclusively focused on the formulaic
nature of these MDMs. The linking nature that MDMs possess has been largely
neglected. This thesis therefore aims to explore further the pragmatic
awareness of L2 learners in their use of MDMs by including both
corpus-based studies and experiments. Questions to be addressed include to
what extent L2 learners exert their pragmatic awareness and use MDMs
appropriately, and whether or not English proficiency affects the types and
quantities of MDMs used by learners. The thesis first describes the usage
patterns of the targeted MDMs in 4 native speaker (NS) corpora, leading to
the creation of a formality continuum along which various MDMs can be
placed. An additional investigation in the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC)
shows that the overuse/underuse phenomenon has to be discussed by taking
into account the semantic categories of MDMs. Two studies—the reaction time
(RT) task and the multiple discourse completion task (MDCT)—are carried out
with the goals of perceiving learners' pragmatic awareness and testing
whether the learners' corpus-based results can be supported by the
experimental data. The results show that advanced L2 learners notice the
embedded formality mismatch better than the intermediate learners. The L2
participants in the two studies find identifying Concessive links the most
difficult and this is supported by the fact that CLC learners also show a
lack of register awareness in using Concessive MDMs. Future work includes
applying the methodology to other multi-word units, recruiting different
groups of L2 learners (ESL), and pursuing the thesis’s implication for
teaching.



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