International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

A Corpus-based Analysis on Learners’ Use of Inferential Discourse Markers in Their Argumentative Written
English: A Case of Some Chinese Mainland University Students Huai-kui Li

This paper, based on a corpus data analysis, examines the range, and extent of inferential discourse markers (IDMs), and their composite forms used by non-English major undergraduates (nEMUGs) and English major postgraduates (EMPGs) in their argumentative writing and problems remaining in the use of IDMs. The data first get processed in AntConc 3.5.9 and then analyzed manually. Conclusions are that, first, both nEMUGs and EMPGs, like NESs use most of the thirteen IDMs, nEMUGs using twelve, EMPGs, ten, and NESs, eleven. In the use of composite IDMs, except and then, and then, and accordingly employed by learners with some percentage, few composite IDMs are employed and the frequency is quite low. Second, both groups use so and therefore more often than other IDMs. As opposed to EMPGs, nEMUG group uses so much more frequently than therefore. Third, the problems are that nEMUGs make some semantic mistakes while EMPGs and NESs do not. And the range and the extent of composite IDMs used and the distribution and the degree an IDM used in the positions of S2 by both nEMUGs and EMPGs are different from those used by NESs. Therefore, both groups of learners are far from acquiring the native-like competence of English IDMs.

Full Text: PDF