The Impact of Lexical Expressions (Markers) on Iranian Upper Elementary EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension

Yasser Ebrahimi, Mona Tavakoli


Many studies have investigated the field of sociolinguistics and pragmatics, and the study of English discourse markers within these domains seems to be gaining momentum in a wide range of branches in recent years. For example, Norrick (2001) concluded that discourse markers such as well and but have specialized functions in oral narratives and are employed by the speaker to signal a return to the main theme of the narrative and are also used by the hearer to express organizational problems Hence, the study reported here investigated the effect of the teaching of DMs on Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ listening comprehension. A total of 72 ninth-grade students recruited from two intact classes in an institute named Arman Garayan participated in this study. They were randomly assigned to DM and non-DM groups. The DM group received 14 weeks of DM instruction. After the intervention period, both groups were tested using multiple-choice questions, recall questions, and a summary at the post-test stage. A t test was applied to compare the comprehension scores of the two groups. The results demonstrate that the DM group significantly outperformed the non-DM group during the post-test stage. For the DM group, the presence of DMs in the listening comprehension texts not only facilitated global comprehension but also assisted the students in retaining detailed information. DMs activate prior knowledge, provide more processing time, distinguish major and minor ideas, indicate speakers’ intentions, and reduce anxiety. By contrast, few participants in the non-DM group utilized DMs to enhance listening comprehension.


discourse markers; listening comprehension; EFL learners

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