This study investigates how the use of discourse markers reflects speaking fluency in Chinese learners. In this study, 220 min of online Chinese courses were transcribed, with 17 Chinese learners and 5 native Chinese teachers as participants. Half of the transcribed data were drawn from students living in Taipei, Taiwan, a Chinese-speaking environment, learning Chinese as a second language. The other portion of the data was collected from students living in non-Chinese-speaking countries, learning Chinese as a foreign language with little exposure to the language outside the classroom. Analysis of the transcripts supported the hypothesis that the frequency of discourse markers used by individual speakers reflects their fluency in the target language. Further analyses of the function of discourse markers produced by the three participant groups suggested that understanding the ability to use discourse markers can be a valuable tool to evaluate, assess, and gauge richness of spoken content, as well as to aid in the development of teaching methods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language