CORPUS-BASED ANALYSIS OF THE PRAGMATIC MARKER LIKE IN NON-NATIVE CONVERSATION

Marija Kusevska
2020 Journal of Languages for Specific Purposes  
The study presented in this paper is part of the research project "Developing cross-cultural and interlanguage pragmatics research and its practical implications" currently implemented at Goce Delchev University in Shtip, Republic of North Macedonia. It investigates the use of the pragmatic marker 'like' by Macedonian learners of English. For this purpose, we compiled a research corpus of conversations produced by 76 students of English at Goce Delchev University. The participants had been
more » ... pants had been asked to choose and discuss three topics out of the following five: problems with stray dogs, living and working abroad, body piercing and tattoos, the healthy amount of time to spend with the person you're dating, and talking on the phone while sharing time with friends. The time of the conversations mounted to 9.9 hours, or 66,696 words. The conversations were then transcribed and analysed. Additionally, attitudinal data were collected from 40 of the participants about their perception of 'like' with respect to the age and gender of the speakers, formality of the situation, grammaticality, acceptability, distractibility, and politeness of the utterances. They also rated users for fluency and their level of English. The findings of this investigation show that the pragmatic marker 'like' is salient for the learners and that they use it similarly as native speakers. It also shows that its frequency correlates with language proficiency levels. However, other factors also influence its usage, such as learners' perception of the marker, length of turns and speakers' personal features. The present study makes an important contribution to interlanguage pragmatics. First, it investigates spoken language and reveals some aspects of learner communication that cannot be observed in class. Second, it shows that learning a foreign language is a complex process that involves not only instruction but all other resources that learners have access to through the Internet.
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