Dominant and Gender-Specific Tendencies in the Use of Discourse Markers: Insights from EFL Learners

Mahboobeh Tavakoli, Amin Karimnia


This study followed two objectives: it primarily investigated the types of discourse markers (DMs) used in the
spoken language of Iranian advanced EFL learners, and then explored the possible impact of gender on the
participants’ use of DMs. To this end, 40 male and female EFL learners selected from an English language institute
participated in this study. The data were gathered through class observations. The researchers used Fraser’s
taxonomy of DMs and Fung’s category of interpersonal DMs as the theoretical framework of the study. To analyze
the data descriptive and inferential statistics were used. Results of the frequency test revealed that “and” was the
most commonly used elaborative DM, whereas “but” was the most frequent contrastive DM. “Because” and “by the
way” were respectively the only reason and topic-related DMs used by the participants, while “sure” was the most
frequent interpersonal DM. In addition, results of the chi-square test revealed that learners significantly employed
interpersonal DMs more than the other sub-classes of DMs. Concerning the role of gender in the use of DMs, results
demonstrated that females significantly used more DMs compared with the males.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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