Punctuation Marks as Discourse Structure Indicators Used by Iraqi EFL Learners


Dhuha Amed Hamadi (M.A)
Iraq- Ministry of Education, Iraq.
Meethaq Khamees Khalaf (M.A)
Iraq-University Of Anbar, Iraq.


Lexical, punctuation and graphical markers represent the interdependent systems in language texts to indicate the structure of discourse. This study concerns with punctuation marks which are an integral part in the writtenphase of discourse. Punctuations are tools supportingthe writers/ the readers to disambiguate the sentence meaning andconfusion and to make reading be easier. The aim of the study is to investigate the most frequent use of punctuation marks utilized by the Iraqi EFL learners. Also, it is to make a comparison between Iraqi male and female EFL learners in the use of punctuation marks based on the accuracy and frequency to unravel the most frequent usein the monthly test ofwritingessaysregarding punctuations as a part of written system. The data of the study are random samples of 30 students’essays in the 3rd stage/ Department of English in College of Education for Humanities, University of Anbar. The results of the study, relying on the frequency and the percentage scales for each punctuation marks,have shownthat the most frequent uses of punctuation marks are capital letters, full stops, commas and apostrophe consecutively.In addition, the accuracy and frequency levels between the two genders are variable from one mark to another. In other words, the Iraqi female EFL learners are more accurate than males in this aspect.