How Well Can Arab EFL Learners Adequately Use Discourse Markers?


Discourse markers are words or phrases used in both speech and writing to signal relationships between discourse segments, including clauses, sentences and even larger portions of texts such as paragraphs. Their proper use in writing effectively contributes to textuality standards, particularly cohesion and coherence. On the other hand, learners’ misuse, underuse or overuse of these markers may negatively impact the quality of the texts that these learners produce. This paper examined the ability of a group of Arab learners of English as a foreign language (ALEFL) from the University of Sharjah to recognize and produce discourse markers in written compositions. Using two elicitation techniques, the researchers collected data for this research from a sample of one hundred Arab learners studying English at the University of Sharjah. A test consisting of four parts was specially designed to evaluate participants’ ability to recognize and produce discourse markers in context. In addition, two hundred compositions written by ALEFL were analyzed to investigate their ability to produce discourse markers. The data analysis revealed that the participants’ ability to recognize and produce discourse markers was relatively low and their ability to recognize the functions of discourse markers in context was below expectations.


Shehdeh Fareh Najib Jarad Sane Yagi


Arab EFL learners, connective adjuncts, discourse markers, linking adjuncts