Towards an understanding of the effects of a period of residence abroad on the production of discourse markers by L2 users of English: The use of ‘like

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The use of discourse markers (DMs) in oral
production seems to be a frequent characteristic of the spoken language of native speakers
(Lewis, 2006), whereas their use in the second
language (L2), and in particular by instructed learners, seems to be a rather limited phenomenon (Sankoff et al., 1997; Liao, 2009). Previous
research has demonstrated that the production
of DMs in the L2 can be aided by intense contact with native speakers (Sankoff et al., 1997)
and that, by extension, the degree of usage of
DMs in the L2 can be considered as an index of
the level of exposure to the target language (TL)
(Migge, 2015). Situated within the research area
of Study Abroad (SA), this contribution attempts
to assess whether, after a period of residence
abroad, informants start to use DMs differently
in speech, through a longitudinal analysis. In particular, this article focuses on their use of ‘like’.
Data were elicited following the principles of
the sociolinguistic interview (Labov, 1984) and
were collected at the beginning and the end of
the participants’ experience abroad. The study
was conducted with five Italian learners of English who spent about a semester in a university
context in Ireland. The results of this investigation suggest that the experience abroad was
beneficial, though extremely heterogeneous,
across individuals in terms of the production of
this DM in the L2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-70
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Cite this