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Discourse markers in the expository writing of Spanish university students

Author(s): Ana Cristina Lahuerta Martínez

Journal: Ibérica
ISSN 1139-7241

Volume: 8;
Start page: 63;
Date: 2004;
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Keywords: discourse markers | frequency | expository writing | quality

The aim of this study is to investigate the use of discourse markers in the expository compositions of Spanish undergraduates. Compositions were collected from a sample of 78 first-year English students at the faculty of Chemistry of the University of Oviedo. Fraser's (1999) taxonomy of Discourse Markers was used for the analysis of discourse markers in students' writing. The main findings were that students employed a variety of discourse markers with some types used more frequently than others. Elaborative markers were the most frequently used, followed by contrastive markers. There was a statistically significant relationship between the scores of the compositions and the number of discourse markers used in the same compositions. Thus, the larger the number of discourse markers used, the higher the score of the composition. We also found that there were statistically significant differences between the highly-rated and the poorly-rated compositions in the frequency of use of contrastive, elaborative and topic relating discourse markers. Those essays with a larger number of elaborative, contrastive and topic relating discourse markers obtained a higher score. Elaborative markers were the most closely related to the compositions' quality.

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