A corpus-based comparative study of pragmatic markers: I mean and you know in native and non-native conversation

Mei, Wensheng
A corpus-based comparative study of pragmatic markers: I mean and you know in native and non-native conversation. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This study investigates how the two pragmatic markers I mean and you know are used by Chinese EFL learners as compared to British speakers. To describe how these two markers by used by the Chinese learners, this study first investigates how they are used in the British speakers’ data. To obtain a finer picture of how they are used by the native speakers, the interpretation of their pragmatic meanings is open to all plausible explanations instead of being confined to one single theory or framework. As a result, this study sets up its own categories and comes up with much longer function lists than previous studies. In addition, a new framework is proposed. Following the completion of a detailed description of the pragmatic functions of I mean and you know, a detailed and systemic comparison between them in terms of the specific functions they play and their positioning are carried out on the grounds that these two markers are analyzed by following the same approach in the same data set. By highlighting the similarities and differences between them and explaining why, the comparison improves our understanding how they relate to each other in conversation. Compared to the British speakers, the Chinese learners show different patterns of I mean and you know in their L2 English. The main features of the learners’ uses of I mean and you know are: firstly, I mean is markedly under-represented and less pragmatized while you know is markedly over-represented and more pragmatized; secondly, both I mean and you know are used in more restricted contexts; finally, the pragmatic functions of I mean are more evenly distributed while you know heavily depends on a very small number of functions. Since I mean and you know are very unlikely to be taught in the classroom, the accounting for the patterns of them in the learners’ data is approached from the perspective of second language acquisition. This study follows the assumption that learners’ L2 production can be seen as the result of the interaction of all potential factors and the importance of a certain factor varies from one L2 phenomenon to another. The analysis seems to suggest that the learners’ uses of I mean are greatly influenced by the congruence between the pragmatic meaning and semantic meaning of I mean while the learners’ uses of you know are mainly affected by L1 influence. Other factors that seem to have impact on the production of both markers include the tasks performed by the learners and the learners’ proficiency level.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2012-09 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: pragmatic markers, I mean, you know, Chinese EFL learners, British speakers conversation, acquisition
Subjects: ?? P1 ??
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2013 10:10
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:39
DOI: 10.17638/00011433
  • Thompson, Geoff
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/11433