Functions of the pragmatic marker 'like' in English and how Macedonian learners view it

Kusevska, Marija and Ivanovska, Biljana (2019) Functions of the pragmatic marker 'like' in English and how Macedonian learners view it. Knowledge - International Journal, Scientific Papers, 34 (6). pp. 1627-1632. ISSN 2545-4439

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The study presented in this paper is a part of the research project “Developing cross-cultural and interlanguage pragmatics research and its practical implications” currently being implemented at Goce Delchev University in Shtip, Republic of North Macedonia. This project was partly motivated by the small number of studies in Macedonia on interlanguage pragmatics as well as by the growing need for development of new research methods. In compliance with the above, the objectives of thе project are as follows: 1. increase of the pool of cross-cultural, intercultural, and interlanguage pragmatics studies; 2. development of modern methods for data collection and analysis; and 3. linking empirical research with educational and communication needs in the society. This paper in particular investigates the use of the pragmatic marker like by Macedonian learners of English. Two research questions have been posed: 1. What functions do MLE of English associate with like? and 2. How do they view speakers who use it? The standard for comparison for the first question is the native speakers’ usage of like as described in other studies. The second question was answered on the basis of an attitudinal questionnaire. The attitudinal questionnaire asked the participants to express their perception of like with respect to the age and gender of the speakers, formality of the situation, grammaticality, acceptability, distractiveness, and politeness of the utterances. They also rated users for fluency and their level of English. The participants were also asked to explain if they use like in a similar way and for what purposes as well as how they learned it. The attitudinal survey was adapted from Dailey-O'Cain (2000). The examples, however, are from my data. The participants of this study were 40 students of English enrolled at the Department of English language at Goce Delchev University, Shtip, age 19 to 25. Most of them were at B2, C1 or C2 level of English. All participants learned English for at least five years in primary school and four years at high school, which means they had English as a subject up to their graduation from high school. Very few of the students had been to an English speaking country. The findings of this investigation show that the pragmatic marker like is salient for the learners and that they use it in a similar way as native speakers. However, it is stigmatized and most learners view it negatively. Additionally, other factors that influence its usage were identified. Further research may investigate whether the use of like is influenced by the proficiency levels of English and whether a longer stay in an English speaking country influences the use of like. It would be also useful to investigate other pragmatic markers and see how they are used in learner English. Key words: interlanguage, pragmatic markers, functions, attitudinal questionnaire, fluency

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Humanities > Languages and literature
Divisions: Faculty of Philology
Depositing User: Marija Kusevska
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2019 10:04
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 10:04

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