Term Paper, 2008, 11 Pages
There's Like the Galleria and Like All These Like Really Great Shoe 1 : Why Non-Native Speakers Do Not Speak This Way and What It Means For Them
1 (Frank Zappa 1982)
Learners of a second language are confronted with different challenges. They have to learn new words and grammar rules and how to apply them. To improve their skills they need to be corrected or they must have the possibility to correct themselves by comparing their usage of the foreign language with that of native speakers. However, there are some implicit rules to using a language which are rarely detected by both learnes and native speakers. One of these cases is the usage of discourse markers (DM)
inadequate applications have more far-reaching consequences during communication than grammatical incorrectness (1980:172).
In this essay I will concentrate on the DM like since it is amongst the most frequently used by native speakers of English (Fox Tree 2006:727, 2007:309; Müller
2005:197). As research has shown, non-native speakers use like less often as a DM than native speakers (Fuller 2003:200; Fung and Carter 2007:435; Hikyoung 2004:121; Müller
2005:230). Thus, I will firstly argue that the infrequent use of like as a DM 2 is one feature by which non-native speakers can be recognized as such. Secondly, I will show that this deficit in pragmatic competence effects their communications with native speakers
negatively. I claim that the reasons for the lower rate of like relates to its pragmatic functions and the way in which English is taught.
Functions of Like
DMs are difficult to translate due to the variety of functions they can assume in spoken language (Fleischmann and Yaguello 2004:143). Often paraphrases are used to
2 In the following, like always refers to like as a DM unless otherwise stated.
translate them. However, these are inadequate substitutes for DMs because paraphrases cannot function in as many ways as DMs can (Reinhardt 1998:339; Svartvik 1980:177).
Many linguists associate five pragmatic functions with like (Fleischmann and Yaguello 2004:131; Fox Tree 2007:299; Fuller 2003:189-190). Like can serve as: (1) a loose talk (Andersen 1998:149), (2) (Jucker, Smith, and Lüdge 2003:147, 151),
(3) an indicator that speakers need time to think (Fung and Carter 2007:435), (4) a focus (Underhill 1988:234), or (5) hing different is meant from what is said (Andersen 1998:153) .
This broad scope of functions makes it difficult for non-native speakers to translate like into their first language (L1) and understand all of its functions.
Differences of the Use of Like by Native and Non-Native Speakers Several studies have been conducted on the use of DMs by native and non-native speakers. All clearly hint at differences between the usage by these two groups (Hellermann and Vergun 2007:176; Fuller 2003:201; Fung and Carter 2007:426; Müller 2005:230).
Like was used more than five times less often by German non-native speakers of English than by American native speakers in a research done by Simone Müller
(2005:244). In Mü study, all 34 Americans used like at least one time, but only 44 out of 77 Germans did (2005:230). Lee Hikyoung compared the use of DMs of first- had leftKorea before turning
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