Discourse Markers in the Genre of Formal Letters Written by Intermediate Students of English as a Foreign Language
AbstractThis article involves a quantitative computer-assisted study of the use of discourse markers in the genre of formal letters written by a group of students of English as a foreign language (EFL) at the intermediate level of EFL proficiency. The aim of the study was to examine how the group of EFL students uses English discourse markers in a written task involving the genre of formal letters. The study employed a quantitative computer-assisted methodology of computing the frequencies of discourse markers by software program WordSmith (Scott 2008). The results of the data analysis indicated that the group of EFL students at the intermediate level of EFL proficiency exhibited awareness of the genre conventions associated with the usage of discourse markers in the task. The EFL students’ genre awareness was manifested by the use of stylistically neutral discourse markers (e.g., also, but, however) concurrently with those discourse markers that are typically associated with a formal register of the English language (e.g., furthermore, hereby, therefore). These findings and their didactic implications to the teaching of EFL writing are further discussed in the article.
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