The Oral Production of Discourse Markers by Advanced Learners of Spanish

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James Ramsburg

Abstract

This study seeks to investigate the way in which advanced Spanish learners do or do not produce various discourse markers in their speech. Although discourse markers and other related features are crucial for cohesive and fluid communication, few studies have been done on pragmatic acquisition or discourse markers in Spanish, and none have addressed advanced learners. Based on Llanos and González’s (2014) study of intermediate Spanish speakers, the present study utilizes a corpus of elicited speech to compare how advanced learners and native Spanish speakers use connectors, reformulators, discourse operators, and conversational markers when completing an interview and a photo description task. Results of the preliminary distributional and descriptive findings show that the advanced learners seem to have acquired a native-like usage of discourse markers, both in frequency and in function. The findings of the present study suggest that discourse markers are linguistic structures acquired in the late stages of acquisition.

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