Discourse Markers in Sudanese Spoken English: A Corpus-Based Study

Abdulaziz B Sanosi


The present study investigates the use of Discourse Markers (DMs) in Sudanese non-native spoken English. Two corpora were compiled to typify Sudanese and British spoken English. Each corpus comprises 108600 words constituting over fifty TEDx Talks presented by Sudanese and British speakers in the last seven years. The study focusses on the frequency and placement of three DMs, namely: you know, well, and okay, in the Sudanese corpus by adopting data from the British native speakers’ corpus as a measuring criterion.  The frequency of use of the DMs was calculated using AntConc software while the data were manually analysed using Key Word in Context (KWIC) lists to study the positioning patterns of the DMs in the two corpora. The results of the study point to the higher frequency of DMs in the British corpus compared to the Sudanese one. Non-native speakers, nevertheless, used the three DMs in all in-sentence positions i.e. initial, medial, and final just as their native counterparts did. The results also show that you know was the most used DM in the two corpora and it consistently occurs in the medial position. It was also found that Sudanese speakers overused the DM okay. A number of implications of the results are discussed and relevant recommendations are presented.


discourse markers, ted talk genre, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis

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