Charles University (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 6692-6700
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1607
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
The aim of the paper is to introduce a dictionary database containing frequently used language expressions involved in the text structure (discourse connectives). Thanks to this database based on the authentic language data, students can improve their knowledge of German and Czech, especially in the area of text coherence. Teaching praxis shows that language learners have problems with the proper use of connectives. When creating a text, the learners often omit these coherence means or misuse them, mainly by confusing their meaning.

However, discourse connectives play a significant role in the text structuring – they express discourse relations between text units and their presence helps readers better understand the text as a whole. Proper use of discourse connectives ensures text coherence, making the text continuous and fluent.

Therefore, we decided to create a medium-sized database of connective expressions that can serve as a tool for foreign language teaching or self-study. The aim is to improve the students' writing skills in the target language and thus to enhance their productive language skills. The database interconnects three languages: German, Czech, and partially English.

It captures a specific group of discourse connectives – so-called anaphoric connectives containing an expression referring to the surrounding (con)text, cf. the part “there” in the English connective “therefore”, “da” in the German connective “darum” 'therefore' or “to” in the Czech connective “proto” 'therefore'. The anaphoric connectives contribute to text coherence from two points of view – on the one hand, they express the semantic relation between two text units, and on the other, they perform a reference function.

The presented Anaphoric Connective Database has two parts: German and Czech. The German section contains the most frequent single-word connectives, consisting of a preposition and an anaphoric part. The most frequently used synonyms in Czech and English are assigned to each connective, and its basic meanings are described.

The Czech part covers the most common Czech connectives, consisting of a preposition and an anaphoric part – this time, moreover, both single- and multi-word. As in the previous case, the most frequent synonyms in German and English are listed for each Czech connective, and its basic meanings are recorded.

The database contains 80 frequently used connective units. It provides a medium-sized, easy-to-search repertoire of prepositional anaphoric connectives. The involvement of German, Czech and English enables the use of the database in foreign language teaching, with a focus on deepening the productive language skills of students. In addition, the database can be used by translators as well as in the machine translation area.
Language in use, text comprehension, writing skills, text coherence, discourse connectives, anaphora, anaphoric connectives, machine translation.