Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1.  March 2022                                        Pp.161-172

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Use of Discourse Markers among Senior University Students  

Ali Alsaawi
College of Humanities & Sciences in Alghat, Majmaah University
Majmaah, Saudi Arabia


Received: 10/4/2021              Accepted:2/14/2022                   Published:3/24//2022


The study of discourse markers has attracted the attention of researchers as a facet of linguistics since the 19th century. The focus of research has been based on the theoretical status of discourse markers in relation to how they are used and for what reasons, explored in different contexts and settings; however, few studies have been conducted in the context of Saudi Arabia. This study, therefore, attempted to look at the use of discourse markers by senior university students majoring in English in Saudi Arabia and its functions. Fraser’s (2004) semantic perspective, classifying discourse markers into four categories, was adopted, together with Hiilker’s (1991) features of discourse markers, consistent with the view that the meaning of discourse markers is related to their function of clarifying the intrinsic value of an utterance. The results revealed that students in their essays employed discourse markers in all four of Fraser’s (2004) categories. However, it was evident that the participating students struggled with the appropriate use of discourse markers. This issue should be examined in greater depth and the reasons for this difficulty assessed. One reason lies in students’ low exposure to discourse markers in class. It is thus highly recommended that teachers raise EFL students’ awareness of discourse markers by providing them with more related tasks and exercises.
Keywords: combining discourse markers, discourse markers, EFL learners, university students, written discourse

Cite as: Alsaawi, A.  (2022). Use of Discourse Markers among Senior University Students   Arab World English Journal,
(1) 161-172.


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Received: 10/4/2021  
Accepted: 2/14/2022  
Published: 3/24//2022 

Dr. Ali Alsaawi is an assistant professor at Majmaah University, Saudi Arabia. He holds a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from Newcastle University, UK. He has published a number of papers in discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition. He has participated in a number of local and international conferences.