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The acquisition of discourse markers in the conversational speech of beginning, intermediate and advanced learners of Italian as a foreign language through an action-oriented approach

Abstract

The objective of this proposal is to develop - among beginning, intermediate and advanced learners of Italian as a foreign language - an awareness of and ability to use discourse markers (DMs) in Italian and, therefore, to ensure effective progress in acquisition/learning of discourse competence in Italian as a foreign language through an action-oriented approach. This study will consist of two stages. During the first stage, we will prepare tasks that will provide a balanced sequence and alternation between activities focused on discovery and implementation of DMs through "interactive spaces" that favor output in Italian as a foreign language. The material will then be published on-line in a blog entitled Ma Dai!: proposte didattiche in azione per l'apprendimento d'italiano LE [You don't say so!: action-oriented pedagogical suggestions for learning Italian as a foreign or second language]. In the second stage, the material prepared will be implemented in university classes in which the students' native language is Brazilian Portuguese. The students are majoring in Italian Language and Literature at the University of São Paulo. During this stage, an on-line database will be created called Observations of the acquisition of discourse markers in Italian as a foreign language by Brazilian Portuguese students. It will contain a list of discourse markers and their functions, with the contexts in which they occur. For the analysis of the functions of the DMs we will adopt the taxonomy developed by Bazzanella (1995, 2001), supplemented by a set of ideas and references extracted from conversation analysis that will allow us to understand how DMs are employed in building conversations. (AU)

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