He Anping: On the discourse marker so

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On the discourse marker so

He Anping

In New Frontiers of Corpus Research
Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002

This study is triggered by the overuse of so in Chinese EFL learners’ written English. It is based on a number of English corpora including the discourse of both native English speakers and learners of English in China. The discoursal use of so is investigated in terms of frequency distribution, sentence position and associated patterns. Comparison is also made between so in spoken English and its equivalent in spoken Chinese. The writer invokes four possible explanations for the overuse and inappropriate use of so by the Chinese EFL learners: 1) learners’ unawareness of the stylistic impact in written language, 2) limitations in learners’exposure to English, 3) preference for the simpler/early-learned strategy, and 4) negative transfer from learners’ mother tongue.

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