Expressing negation through conversational exchanges can serve many functions (Gönen, 2011, p. 253). At this point, the exchange of information between speakers can be improved through the presence of Contrastive Discourse Markers (CDMs) (Khatib & Safari, 2011, p. 243). An actual engagement of Saudi college English learners in a conversational exchange to negate can reflect their inadequate knowledge of the pragmatic functions of CDMs in spoken discourse (Lewis, 2011, p. 416). The way they frequently negate using either directly stating “NO” or affixing the word “NOT” to auxiliaries and modals (Min, & Yan, 2012, p. 66) expecting that they have successfully carried out a pragmatic contrastive function can in effect show how Saudi English college learners are unaware of the various pragmatic functions of CDMs (Shanru, 2011, p. 897; Williams, 2010, p. 214). Khan points out that commonly in Arabic there are two patterns of making opposites e.g. prefix chair (that means non or not) (Khan, 2011, p. 105).
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Besides, the recurrent and limited usage of the DM “No” could be as some studies revealed it as having a relatively narrow range of uses (Jianfeng, 2012, p. 50; Abdulhafeed, 2012, p. 58; Xiao, 2010, p. 28), or explicitly concentrated on one or two uses (Karaata, Çepik & Çetin, 2012, p. 12). Additionally, the flexibility of English discourse demonstrates that Saudi college learners of English grasp a variety of devices in expressing negation in different ways to perform various functions (Modhish, 2012, p. 57; Delaney, 2012, p. 471). Besides, the inefficient instructional approach of CDMs in spoken discourse accounts for the unawareness of English learners in Saudi universities about the various pragmatic functions of CDMs. Such an instructional approach has resulted in the fact that learners can figure out the connective function of using different CDMs in written discourse without actual employment of various CDMs upon undertaking a conversational exchange. Accordingly, misinterpreting the contextual uses of CDMs in oral discourse is more likely to be faced. As such, the importance of mapping the pragmatic functions of English CDMs in oral discourse arises. Being in a cartographer’s shoes for mapping this topic in the presented proposal, a thorough investigation that seeks to tap on the various pragmatic functions that can be conveyed in spoken discourse using CDMs will be undertaken. Moreover, this topic will be thoroughly sought in an attempt to provide a developmental approach to the current ways of teaching oral discourse for English learners in Saudi universities.
Samples of natural oral discourse for several Saudi college English learners will be presented and analyzed to further ascertain the learners’ insufficient knowledge of the pragmatic functions of CDMs. A review of some existing pedagogical ways of teaching CDMs will be qualitatively reported.
Upon engaging in a conversational exchange where an interlocutor is to negate, a lot of English learners in Saudi universities employ a very limited number of contrastive markers, namely, no or not and sometimes but, which indicates their insufficient knowledge of the various pragmatic functions of CDMs in oral discourse (Taboada & de Los-Angeles Gomez-Gonzalez, 2012, p. 19). Therefore, this proposal suggests an in-depth analysis of the pragmatic functions of NO, NOT, and SOMETIMES as discourse contrastive makers. To be more exact, the research paper is going to answer the question:
What are the key CDMs that Saudi EFL learners of English use in their conversational intercourse? Is there a connection between the use of CDMs and the level of comprehension between speakers?
Providing answers to the given question is the core aim of the proposal; however, it is necessary to indicate that several objectives are going to be targeted thoroughly to scrutinize the research topic.
- What are the key CDMs that Saudi EFL learners of English use in their conversational intercourse?
- Is there a connection between the use of CDMs and the level of comprehension between speakers?
- How are CDMs being taught in Saudi classrooms?
- How are CDMs being used by Saudi English college learners?
The inefficient instructional approach of CDMs in spoken discourse accounts for the unawareness of Saudi English college learners of the various pragmatic functions of CDMs. As a result, learners can figure out the connective function of using different CDMs in written discourse without actual employment of various CDMs upon undertaking a conversational exchange.
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Objectives of the Study
This study aims at investigating the pragmatic functions of English contrastive discourse markers (CDMs) as being taught by teachers and learned by learners in Saudi universities. Besides, its object is the illustration of the communicative functions of contrastive discourse markers in an attempt to illuminate a developmental approach for the current teaching methodologies of English oral discourse as used in Saudi classrooms. As such, providing answers to the abovementioned research questions is the core aim of the proposal. However, it is necessary to indicate that there will be scrutiny of several objectives for the exhaustion of the research topic.
Significance of the Study
The study will address an in-depth analysis of important elements of discourse such as contrastive makers. It will highlight the properties of CDMs based on naturally occurring data. The findings of my proposed research will be of great help to both teachers as well as learners in Saudi universities (Taboada & de Los-Angeles Gomez-Gonzalez, 2012, p. 18). Concerning teachers, remarkable attention will be provoked to teaching discourse for communicative purposes. Respectively, Saudi English college learners will consider learning how to correctly interpret and relate to negative utterances in conversational exchanges as well as establish coherent and relevant discourse to fulfill their communicative needs.
In conclusion, the topic I propose will elaborate on the pragmatic functions which can be carried out by CDMs and have not received considerable attention in the literature. Furthermore, it will offer a recommended approach of how the teaching of English oral discourse can be developed to meet the current ongoing changes in the scope of English discourse (Btoosh & Taweel, 2011, p. 208).
Limitations of the Study
The literature on the same topic is inadequate and that may not give enough room for effective exploration of the topic. Misinterpreting the contextual uses of CDMs in oral discourse is more likely to be faced. As such, the importance of mapping the pragmatic functions of English CDMs in oral discourse arises. Additionally, the population of the experimental group might not represent the majority of the students, as well as teachers’ reports, which might not provide enough evidence of all the current used teaching approaches.
Operational Definitions of Terms
CDMs in oral exchanges means that interlocutors verbally use ‘but’,’yet’ ‘however’, ‘in comparison’, ‘conversely’, ‘instead’, ‘despite’, ‘nevertheless’, ’on the other hand’, ‘on the contrary’ when they want to negate. Using CDMs in conversational interaction by Saudi English learners means that Speaker B replies with different contrastive markers in the following conversational exchange to carry out several functions:
- Speaker A: Sneezing, sneezing, sneezing! It’s winter again. I hate the weather those days it is very cold.
- Speaker B: Cold weather and winter sicknesses go hand in hand but there are a lot of things you can do despite the unusual cold. Instead of blaming the season, you can get the most out of it. Just dress heavily and enjoy the beauty of winter.
There will be a thorough investigation to tap on the various pragmatic functions of CDMs in spoken discourse. A sample of 40 students divided into groups will be provided. Twenty students will be randomly selected from the 7th as well as 20 from the 8th level. They will be placed in groups and that will create a cohesive relationship because the students will be able to select group members they can be comfortable being around during discussions. They will have group discussions based on expressing negation from which a report will be generated. Therefore, a presentation and analysis of samples of natural oral discourse for 40 English college students will be conducted to ascertain the learners’ insufficient knowledge of the pragmatic functions of CDMs. Lastly, teachers will be asked to provide a qualitative report of their pedagogical ways of teaching CDMs. A report of findings and conclusions will be presented.
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