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Volume 13 Number 4, Winter 2016, Pages 247-396 PDF Download

A Corpus-Based Analysis of Discourse Markers in Curriculum-Based English Textbooks and the English Entrance Exam in Taiwan

    Tzu Yu Tai

The focus on EFL listening has increased in Taiwan. Although previous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of language learners' knowledge of discourse markers (DMs) in facilitating their listening comprehension, the time spent on DM instruction is relatively short. Hence, the researcher conducted a corpus-based analysis of the DMs used in junior high school English textbooks, listening workbooks, and the English test in the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students (CAP). The study explored the types of exposure to DMs learners received and sought to determine whether textbook and test writers placed adequate emphasis on DMs. The results revealed that the English textbook and CAP English test corpora had higher frequencies of DMs than the listening workbook corpus. The DMs identified in the three corpora were multi-functional and involved using the senses most common to native speakers' speech. They demonstrated a clear distinction between spoken and written English. However, the DM distributions were mainly limited to the sentence-initial position. Therefore, textbook writers were suggested to focus more on DM distribution and context. Teachers and learners should be aware of the role of DMs in EFL listening comprehension, familiarize themselves with DMs displayed in textbooks, and use authentic listening materials to compensate for textbook deficiencies.

Keywords: corpus analysis, discourse marker, curriculum-based textbook, entrance exam