The Use of Discourse Markers in EFL Classrooms: Challenges and Solutions – SUE Conferences

The Use of Discourse Markers in EFL Classrooms: Challenges and Solutions

Rashwan Ramadan Salih
College of Education, Department of English,  Salahaddin University – Erbil



This paper investigates the effect of using discourse markers on the writing skills of Kurdish university students. By revising the related literature, it appeared that so far there is no consensus on the actual effect of the explicit presence of discourse markers on foreign language writing. Many studies concluded that different discourse markers have different effects on the writing of foreign language learners (Morell, 2004; Ying, 2007; Castro and Marcela 2009; Dariush and Mohamad 2015, etc.). The current research tries to find out if there are any cross-linguistic factors that could cause issues for students in EFL modules. Data for the current study were collected from essays written by Kurdish students at the English Department in Salahaddin University, Erbil. In total, 20 essays were received with total of 19872 words and total 261 DMs were found in the data. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods was used to analyse the data. The raw frequencies of the DMs were: Additive (101 = 0.5 %), Adversative (45 = 0.22 %), Causal / Conditional (83 = 0.4 %), and Temporal (32 = 0.16 %). The findings suggested that level of attention to and appropriate use of discourse markers were significantly unbalanced, and various misuses were found. Sample errors in using the DMs were selected for a qualitative analysis. It is recommended that discourse markers are taught individually not in groups with more focus on the more difficult discourse marker types.

Key words: TEFL, Writing, Discourse Markers,

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