THE EFFECTS OF DISCOURSE MARKERS ON THE READING COMPREHENSION AND SPEED OF CHINESE LEARNERS OF ENGLISH (Published)
Discourse markers are frequently used in academic papers, which abound in logical analyses and arguments. Some linguistic theories have shown that discourse markers are indispensable for both cohesion and coherence of these papers. In this study, a controlled test was carried out to analyze the way in which discourse markers affect the reading comprehension and reading speed of Chinese learners of English. In the study two groups of students (undergraduates and postgraduates) who minored in English as a foreign language were tested with four versions of a medical paper. Four versions were designed: a version without discourse markers, a version with micro markers, a version with macro markers, and a version with both micro and macro markers. A cloze recall test was used to measure the students’ comprehension and reading speed. The results show that macro markers play a helpful role in enhancing readers’ reading comprehension and reading speed. It is concluded that Chinese teachers should place more emphasis on the instruction of discourse markers, especially macro markers.