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Wednesday, August 12 • 12:00pm - 12:25pm
A Corpus-based Study of L1 Transfer in Discourse Marker Use

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This research focuses on the influence of the first language (L1) transfer on discourse marker use in the second language (L2). Some researchers (e.g., Liu, 2013; Sankoff et al., 1997) conducted a contrastive analysis of L1 and L2 speech and suggested that non-native speakers’ use of discourse markers in their L1 may be transferred to their use of English discourse markers. However, there have been only a few detailed studies investigating the effect of L1 on discourse marker use by non-native speakers of English. To rectify the inadequacies, the current research comprises two cross-linguistic studies. The first study applied contrastive analysis to English-Japanese parallel corpus data: English speech data extracted from a Japanese EFL learner corpus and their Japanese translations. Through the comparison using the parallel data, the analysis revealed some correspondences between English and Japanese discourse markers. Based on the findings of the parallel texts, in the second study, a small-scale experiment was carried out using a picture description task. The learners’ L1 and L2 utterances were collected under the same task condition to explore how the use of Japanese discourse markers influenced the use of English discourse markers. The results of the quantitative and qualitative analyses suggested that the use of Japanese discourse markers or fillers may cause the overuse of some markers such as “and,” “so,” and “but.” Although the study conducted a limited observation of certain discourse markers, these findings may be part of the evidence of L1 influence on discourse marker use in L2 learners’ speech and contribute to identifying the features of their acquisition of discourse markers.


Kazunari Shimada

Takasaki University of Health and Welfare

Wednesday August 12, 2015 12:00pm - 12:25pm EDT
CGIS South S050 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA