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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

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A contrastive corpus-based analysis of the frequency of discourse markers in NE and NNE media discourse: Implications for a “universal discourse competence”

Mehdi Vaez Dalili / Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi
  • Graduate Department of Islamic Azad University of Shahreza, Shahreza Branch, Shahreza, Iran (Islamic Republic of)
  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2013-05-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2013-0010


This article examines whether there are differences in the frequency of discourse markers (DMs) between Native English (NE) and Non-native English (NNE) corpora of political media discourse. Based on the grammatical-pragmatic perspective of discourse markers (Fraser, 2004), the discourse markers identified in the corpora were divided into four semantic categories: contrastive discourse markers (CDM), elaborative discourse markers (EDM), implicative discourse markers (IDM) and temporal discourse markers (TDM). The results revealed that: (i) in both corpora, implicative discourse markers (IDMs) and elaborative discourse markers (EDMs) have the lowest and highest frequency counts respectively, (ii) there are significant differences across the four types of discourse markers in both corpora, (iii) there is no significant difference in the aggregated frequency of discourse markers across NE and NNE political news discourse, and (iv) there are no relative NE/NNE frequency differences within each category of discourse markers. The findings point to the need for revisiting Kaplan's contrastive rhetoric, and provide evidence for the plausibility of a “ universal discourse competence” in advanced NNE written discourse.

Keywords: discourse marker; corpus-based analysis; contrastive interlanguage analysis; contrastive rhetoric; universal discourse competence

About the article

Mehdi Vaez Dalili

Mehdi Vaez Dalili is an Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at the University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran. His research interests include Generative perspective on Second Language Acquisition, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and corpus linguistics. His recent books include News & Media (2004, a collaborative work), News & Views (2010), Learn English News through Videos (2011), The Pro-drop Parameter in L2 Acquisition: A Theoretical and Empirical Account (2012), Basic English for the Students of Economic Sciences (2013) and English News Made Simple (2013).

Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi

Hossein Vahid Dastjerdi teaches in the Graduate Department of Islamic Azad University of Shahreza, Shahreza Branch, Shahreza, Iran. He is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and has taught courses of variegated character, including translation courses, for years. He has published a good number of articles on discourse, testing and translation in local and international journals. His research interests include testing, materials development, translation, the metaphoricity of language, discourse analysis, pragmatics and critical discourse analysis.

Department of English, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Iran

Published Online: 2013-05-02

Citation Information: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 39–69, ISSN (Online) 1613-7035, ISSN (Print) 1613-7027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2013-0010.

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