Interactional Metadiscourse in English Speeches of Dasho Tshering Tobgay, the Second Democratic Prime Minister of Bhutan


Mr. Tshen Tashi       

Teacher I, Tang Central School, Bumthang, Bhutan  

*Corresponding Author Email:



Speaking is the key to communication and is considered to be the most important active skill. The ability to speak and engage listeners are essential prerequisites for stringing words together. The purpose of this particular study was to investigate how the interactional metadiscourse markers used in English speeches of 1Dasho Tshering Tobgay relates to listeners’ willingness to communicate. The present qualitative descriptive study focused on textual analysis using Ken Hyland’s model of the metadiscourse.  The study found attitude markers were used the highest than other markers. The analysis of the English speeches revealed that Dasho employed interactional resources to make his presence felt in the discourse, built an honest and sincere personage to make his statements more credible to his audiences, displaying his confidence and competence, and created positions of negotiation while expressing his perspectives in maintaining and strengthening relationships. Convincingly, these interactional resources helped to engage speakers and listeners to promote their willingness to communicate. The information from this research will benefit both foreign language teachers and learners to develop a willingness to communicate in English in various situations.


KEYWORDS: Interpersonal metadiscourse, Interactional metadiscourse, Dasho Tshering Togbay’s English speeches, English as a foreign language, Willingness to communicate.




Today, English is a common “lingua franca” across the globe. According to Jenkins and Leung (2014), the largest group of English speakers are from the expanding circle of learners (excluding inner and outer circles) which consists of about 80 percent of the population of the world. This is the main reason that many countries of the expanding circle speak English either as a “second language” (L2) or “foreign language” (FL).


1Dasho is the title held by all Members of Parliament; some senior officials, including deputy ministers and district magistrates; senior civil servants and others as a form of Royal award.


English is spoken as an FL in Bhutan. The Bhutanese contact with English speaking people dates back as far as 1774 when the British in India approached a friendly relationship with Bhutan. LaPrairie (2014, 10) declared that “British envoys sent to Bhutan by the East India Company in 1774 were the first speakers of English to visit the country”. Soon after, Bhutan became subjectto the influence of the Imperial British India policies until India gained independence in 1947.In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, English is spoken as an official language alongside the national language, Dzongkha. English is given more importance than a mere FL because it is used as a “language of instruction” (CAPSD 2002, i; 2005, v; 2006, ix; Sinha 2001, 196) for all subjects except Dzongkha, which is taught as the national language in all educational institutions to maintain the national policy of bilingualism (Tashi and Suksawas 2018). Although English is the medium of instruction in teaching different subjects, Bhutanese children have difficulties communicating in English with peers, teachers, and friends. Therefore, the development of speaking skills in English in different contexts needs to be addressed.



Bhutanese children’s speaking ability in “English as a foreign language” (EFL) has been limited by a number of barriers which have resulted in a lack of opportunities to actively participate in interactional classroom discussions, to innovate and express existing ideas, and to analyze and interpret their opinions. Most of the teaching and learning processes are characterized by teacher dominated talk, with lengthy lectures explaining theories, concepts, and rules transcribed in textbooks. This causes students to remain, passive listeners, most of the time.


Although English is the language of instruction, oral fluency and communicative competence are given little importance. Other than a few assessments, there is no major help available for developing speaking skills and students are often forced to speak in their local vernacular in class. This factor enforces existing cultural norms which associate and assume shyness with speaking English. This is a consequence of the adherence to old-fashioned teaching methodologies and the absence of attention to the importance of supporting language proficiency across subject areas (Biddha and Thinley 2010). Therefore, “the role of language in education in general, and English, in particular, [are] factor[s] impacting the overall effectiveness [in communication] of Bhutan’s system of government-run education” (Royal Education Council 2012, as cited in LaPrairie 2014, 13).


Another prominent barrier hindering improvements in English-speaking ability is the lack of culture beyond the classroom, as everyone prefers to speak either in their local dialect or national language (Biddha and Thinley 2010).  English is confined as a medium of academic instruction in classroom teaching-learning activities only, resulting in students getting few opportunities to communicate and use the “target language” (TL) in informal settings. Academic teaching in English in the classroom alone does not give enough exposure to the TL to allow them to experience and practice real conversations in a variety of real-life situations.


Similarly, students’ self-confidence and competence in English are other dominant factors affecting the development of oral English communication skills (Biddha and Thinley 2010). As the majority of Bhutanese school children come from backgrounds where English is not spoken at home, children are not exposed to sufficient background ideas and skills to perform in effective daily English conversations, because their contact with the TL is limited to what they hear from their teachers. Inadequate competence in the TL leads to oral delivery errors and anxiety when required to express themselves in English, forcing them to switch to their “first language” (L1).


Teacher’s background knowledge and competence in Englishareother barriers that hinder the development of speaking communication in education institutions (Biddha and Thinley 2010). Oral fluency of teachers does not completely depend on academic qualifications, rather on individual experiences in the habitual use of English and a teacher’s oral competency will have a directimpacton their attitude towards the development of fluency in students. According to Biddha and Thinley (2010), many trainee teachers in colleges do not use English as much as they should or could amongst themselves, or with their lecturers in class discussions, and the dominant use of their other languages hinder the development of English competency. Most Bhutanese teachers use English only to teach the content of the subject. While teachers’ qualifications may help to develop oral fluency in students, a critical factor is their ability to deliver adequate opportunities for the children to have direct contact with English in numerous situations, encouraging them to get involved in conversations with people around them.


In summary, old-fashioned teaching methodologies in educational institutions, including the absence of an English speaking culture beyond the classroom, a lack of self-confidence and competency, and teacher’s background knowledge in English are some of the major reasons why Bhutanese EFL learners lack interaction with friends, teachers, and peers in the TL. Therefore, EFL learners need to get familiarized with “interactional metadiscourse” (IM) resources because IM concerns writers or speakers in the way to conduct interaction by intruding and remarking on their communication (Hyland, 2005). The interactional resources involve the readers or listeners in the interaction and indicate the speakers/writers’ perspective towards the propositional content. Further, Zareifard, and Alinezhad (2014) elaborated that the interactional resources seek to exhibit the speakers/writers’ persona and a tenor steady in achieving interpersonal meaning among the members of the interaction. As a result, the presence of and getting acquainted with IM markers in the texts would provide EFL learners linguistics markers that may help engage their interlocutors’ willingness to communicate (WTC) in TL. While the traditional view of WTC focused mainly on a sole learner’s actions and contributions during social interactions (Cao, & Guangwei, 2014 and Peng, 2016), this study views the social construction of meaning as an important aspect of the social interaction process, one that can impact interlocutors’ WTC, sharing the common view of Suksawas (2011).


Initially, WTC was started by McCroskey and Baer (1985) for discourse in L1s, but later MacIntyre, Dörnyei, Clément and Noels (1998) revised it to L2 interaction by abstracting a heuristic model. WTC in L2 is defined as “a readiness to enter into discourse at a particular time with a specific person or persons, using an L2” (MacIntyre et al., 1998, 547). “Willingness or unwillingness to communicate” are affected by many factors like attitude, motivation, anxiety, language teaching, learning strategies, and opportunities to have contact with the TL. The WTC initiative is to help and orientate individuals to willingly communicate, and to reduce levels of unwillingness due to their lack of education (Burgoon, 1976).


Alqahtani (2015) studied Saudi students’ WTC and success in learning EFL and found that motivation, social, and cultural factors affected children’s WTC to learn English. Likewise, a study by Şener (2014) proved that self-confidence, attitude, and motivation have significant correlations with Turkish ELT students and their WTC in English. According to the study of Mirsane and Khabiri (2016), students expressed that teaching through communicative strategy dramatically increased their WTC in the classroom. Unlike previous researchers, Hişmanoğlu and Özüdoğru (2017) studied learner variables affecting WTC in English. Instead of age and gender, learners’ direct contact with English speaking people had a positive effect on students’ WTC (Alemi and Pahmforoosh 2012).


Educators are finding it difficult to encourage learners to use WTC skills while teaching and learning EFL. Yet, none of the Bhutanese researchers or teachers have conducted research to analyze any spoken text to find out if IM markers can promote in initiating WTC in TL. Moreover, there are comparatively very few researchers who have analyzed IM in spoken texts. Ädel, and Mauranen (2010) clarified that speaking has entered the scene of metadiscourse analysis much more recently.



This particular study aims to investigate the IM markers used in speeches delivered to international audiences on a variety of different topics in English, by Dasho Tshering Tobgay and its effect on EFL learners’ WTC. In order to fulfill the purposes of the study, the researcher uses the following questions:

1.     What interactional metadiscourse markers are used in Dasho Tshering Tobgay’s speeches?

2.     Will interactional metadiscourse markers used in Dasho Tshering Tobgay’s speeches effect EFL learners’ willingness to communicate?



Ken Hyland’s interpersonal metadiscourse model recognizes two kinds of meaningful use of interaction: interactive and interactional category. Hyland (2005) stated that interactive metadiscourse helps the text producers to arrange propositional content to make it comprehensible whereas interactional metadiscourse includes listeners/readers in the communication and specifies the speakers/writers’ perception towards the propositional content. Moreover, Hyland (2010) maintained that interactive metadiscourse supports an efficient establishment of communication to anticipate listeners/readers’ knowledge and reflecting their explicit assessment guide that can be retrieved from texts whereas interactional metadiscourse relates speakers/writers’ attempt to manage the level of personalities in texts and determines appropriate connections with speakers/writers in the communication.


Table 1. An interpersonal model of metadiscourse





Help to guide the reader through the text



Express relations between main clauses

In addition; but; thus; and

Frame markers

Refer to discourse acts, sequences and stages

Finally; to conclude; my purpose is

Endophoric markers

Refer to the information in other parts of the text

Noted above; see figure; in section 2


Refer to information from other texts

According to X; Z states

Code glosses

Elaborate propositional meaning

namely; e.g.; such as; in other words


Involve the reader in the text



Withhold commitment and open dialogue

Might; perhaps; possible; about


Emphasize certainty and close dialogue

In fact; definitely; it is clear that

Attitude markers

Express writer’s attitude to the proposition

Unfortunately; I agree; surprisingly


Explicit reference to authors

I; we; my; me; our

Engagement markers

Explicitly build a relationship with the reader

Consider; note; you can see that

Source: An interpersonal model of metadiscourse (Hyland, 2005, p.49)


In this study, the researcher analyzed the second democratic Prime Minister’s English speeches with a special focus on IM as the inclusion of IM resources in speech according to the interactional metadiscourse model of Hyland (2005) supports to engage listeners/readers in interaction agreeing to speakers/writers’stances. Interactional metadiscourse further promotes interaction by exercising interactional markers which agree speakers/writers in conveying a textual voice. This represents a coherent set of interpersonal options on the author’s unfolding text and assumes a more encompassing model for taking metadiscourse as a set of features to enlighten the interaction between text producers, texts, and users. Therefore, IM markers are primarily involved in fostering the speaker-audience relationship and maintaining the personage of the author in a particular community. This study focused on investigating Dasho’s speeches, relating to the way he employed IM markers such as, ‘hedges’, ‘boosters’, ‘attitude’, ‘self-mentions’, and ‘engagement’.


Sari (2014) studied to find out interpersonal metadiscourse markers used in Michelle Obama’s speech and found the speaker used numerous IM markers, whereby self-mention markers were the dominant IM used to express her opinions to the audience. Likewise, Zareifard and Alinezhad (2014) discovered similar findings when they studied IM markers and genders in the defense seminars of Persian speakers, and the results revealed that both genders used self-mention resources heavily. Similarly, Nan and Liu (2013) examined Steve Jobs’ speech delivered at Stanford and determined that the speaker impressively accomplished interpersonal meaning through the use of IM resources. In summary, all the above studies found that IM resources are dominantly used in speeches.



This study presents qualitative descriptive research focused on content analysis. The researcher’s interest in this study was to investigate IM markers used by the previous Prime Minister of Bhutan, whilst delivering his speeches in English to international audiences on a variety of different topics. The researchers are also eager to know if IM markers


3.1. Sample:

This study utilized purposive sampling for data collection. The data for this study were Dasho Tshering Tobgay’s speeches from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website. This website consists of speeches that he delivered to international (15), national (8), and mixed audiences (15). His English speeches varied considerably in their length (between 323 and 3811 words), which allowed the researcher to categorize the speeches further into different groups according to the word range. The speeches were categorized into four groups; Group One: less than 1,000 words and consisting of six speeches, Group Two; within 1,000 and 2,000 words and consisting of four speeches, Group Three; within 2,000 and 3,000 words and consisting of four speeches, and Group Four; above 3,000 words and consistingof one speech.



In this study, the researcher selected Group Two that consisted of four speeches within 1,000 and 2,000 words (total words: 5,816). The reasoning for the choice of this particular group was to investigate the IM markers used in Dasho’s English speeches on a variety of different topics. The other purpose of categorization was to select a few speeches as this paper is part of a master thesis. The first speech was about connecting Asia and the world, the second was about the alleviation of poverty, the third was about deeper integration for peace and prosperity, and the fourth was about the benefits from the ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) organization.


3.2. Analytical framework:

To investigate the probable differences in the use of interactional metadiscourse markers in speeches, the interactional model of metadiscourse by Hyland (2005) was employed. This model consists of five markers; “hedges”, “boosters”, “attitude markers”, “self-mentions”, and “engagement markers”.


3.3. The procedureof data analysis:

In an effort to get accurate resultsto answer the first question, the analysis was carried out manually. The speeches were read for three times and marked the resources as H for hedges, B for boosters, AM for attitude markers, SM for self-mentions, and EM for engagement markers. Then, the marked resources in each speech were counted three times to confirm the exact figure. As the English speeches are of different lengths, the raw figure frequencies of interactional markers in each speech were standardized per 1000 wordsas Crismore et al. (1993 as cited in Kheirkhah, and Hashemi, 2014) mentioned that 1000 words are a usual method to normalize the unequal length of texts and Yazdani et al. (2014) to confirm comparability.


To answer the second question, the IM markers employed in the English speeches were analyzed and explained whether they would effect in promoting a willingness to communicate in Bhutanese EFL learners within and beyond the classrooms.





Table 2. Frequency of interactional metadiscourse markers in the English speeches

Interactional Markers



Speech 1

Speech 2

Speech 3

Speech 4

Total raw no.

Per 1000 words

Total raw no.

Per 1000 words

Total raw no.

Per 1000 words

Total raw no.

Per 1000 words

Grand Total raw no.

Grand Total per 1000 words

























Attitude Markers
























Engagement Markers


























The selected English speeches were explored in terms of IM markers as the roles of linguistic features because they promote the involvement of listeners/readers in the particular interaction. The data were analyzed to investigate if the linguistic resources used in the English speeches of Dasho Tshering Tobgay would promote WTC in EFL classrooms. The frequency distribution of IM markers that signified the variety of usage in the different speeches is presented in the above Table 2.


The findings indicated that 1497.3 IM markers were used in the four selected English speeches. Among the IM markers, attitude (386.8) had the highest ranking, followed by engagement (322.8), self-mentions (310.1), boosters (304.0), and hedges (173.6). From the total number of IM markers per 1000 words (496.7), the speaker used the maximum in speech 3 (465.8) followed by speech 1 (407.0), speech 2 (348.4), and speech 4 (276.1).


4.1. Attitude marker:

In this study, attitude markers were found most frequently used in the speeches spoken by the Dasho. Attitude markers in IM are the signals of speakers’ effectual attitude to the proposition using the signal of attitude verbs, sentence adverbs, and adjectives to engage listeners. Attitude markers “express the speaker/writer’s appraisal of propositional information, conveying surprise, obligation, agreement, importance, and so on” (Fu and Hyland, 2014). These markers express affective values towards texts and audiences, the judgment of the propositional content, and considered as a language of evaluation (Hyland, 2005). For example;

I have the honor(AM)to convey to the Commission the warm[est] greetings(AM) of His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck of Bhutan…”

“… the Executive Secretary of ESCAP deserves(AM) our deep appreciation …”

“Environmental degradation in many instances has reached alarming(AM) heights.”


In the examples above, the resources ‘honor’ and ‘warmest greetings’ showed the attitude of affective valuesby the speaker while ‘deserves’ was used as a judgemental resource, and ‘alarming’ as evaluation resource.


The attitude markers used by the Dasho, expressing the interactive bond between the speaker and listener would be beneficial for EFL teachers to embrace into their classroom teaching, to be more convincing to their students. At the same time, attitude markers will not only benefit teachers but also EFL students, to react critically to ideas and contribute to texts (Kuhi, Asadollahfam and Anbarian, 2014). In the same vein, the usage of attitude markers in the EFL teaching and learning procedure will benefit both teachers and students to improve an individual personality in initiating WTC in classroom discussions and elsewhere. MacIntyre et al. (2003, 591) mentioned that WTC is a fairly stable personality trait developing across time and resulting in a “global, personality-based orientation toward talking”.


4.2. Engagement markers:

Engagement markers refer listeners/readers to either gain attention or include them in the text (Fu and Hyland, 2014; Hyland, 2005), and orient audiences in an explicit way (Khedri, Ebrahimi and Heng, 2013). These devices serve the purpose of constructing and maintaining the speaker-listener/writer-reader relationship to a great extent. Resources of engagement are devices that speakers/writers explicitly use in texts, to make their presence felt and involve their audiences in the discourse. Speakers/writers have two main purposes.


Firstly, listeners/readers’ prospects are adequately acknowledged with the use of pronouns and interjections by writers/ speakers (Hyland 2005). For instance;

“My delegation expresses our warmest felicitations to you(EM) on your(EM) election as the Chair of SAARC.”

“As we(EM) gather here today in Bangkok, we(EM) must remind ourselves(EM) that an equitable pattern of growth and development is our(EM) cherished objective …”


The use of personal pronouns by the speaker in the above-given examples show how he explicitly employed engagement resources to bring audiences into the discourse. This reflects an effective way to conduct face-to-face discourse in creating a friendly social relationship, with closer proximity to interlocutors. However, in the currently selected speeches, Dasho failed to include other ways of involving audiences in the discourse, such as ‘by the way’ or ‘you may notice’. This type of engagement resource is usually used when the speaker invites listeners to be part of the interaction.


Secondly, audiences are involved rhetorically in a discourse indicating through modal verbs and interrogations (Hyland 2005). For instance;

“We must(EM) redouble our efforts in accelerating action to avert potential dangers from environmental degradation.”

“from a Buddhist perspective, our spiritual masters would(EM)probably say that the current trend can be good”

“So, what next?” (EM)


The commonly found engagement resources in his English speeches are modal verbs. However, he used such resources especially in combination with pronouns to magnify the impact of the texts that inform and persuade his audiences. He also used questions in his speeches to draw attention to the discourse or to remind the audience to understand the propositions in the text.


In the above examples, the speaker used engagement makers to make his presence felt, to involve listeners in the discourse to help with the understanding of the same goals. In the context of EFL learning, engagement resources would help to promote WTC not only to communicate with their friends and teachers in the classroom but also to communicate with peers and other English speakers. This is because the Dasho’s use of engagement markers in his speeches showed a readiness to interact with a variety of different people around the world


4.3. Self-mention markers:

The speaker’s presence in the text is indicated by self-mentions. According to Hyland (2001), “the presence or the absence of explicit author reference is generally a conscious choice by [speakers]/writers to adopt a particular stance and a contextually situated authorial identity”. Fu and Hyland (2014) added that the extent of the presence of authors should use self-mentions in the form of pronouns and possessives, to represent decisions that support assertions or to avoid commitments. Dasho used pronouns either as self-mentions or engagement markers in his speeches. For example;

“I(SM) would also like to share my(SM) views on the …”

“… who gave us(SM) the legacy of Gross National Happiness …”

“Bhutan(SM) is a small … the essence of the Bhutanese(SM) identity.”


In the above examples, Dasho used self-mentions either to build an honest and sincere personage or to represent his identity and his country that make statements in the text more credible to audiences, whilst maintaining and strengthening speaker-listener relationships. A major problem that EFL learners face is the challenge to communicate in English because they have not gained full control of the language and feel inferior, ultimately breaking-down their self-esteem. However, the speaker’s use of self-mentions in his speeches “claim[ed] equality with his audience” (Hyland, 2005, 71) and encourage EFL learners to feel free to communicate willingly in FL verbally and nonverbally in their communities. Coinciding with the work of Macintyre, Burns and Jessome (2011) concerning the dynamics of WTC, the verbal and nonverbal behavior of interlocutors is essential in the EFL context.


4.4. Boosters:

Boosters are IM markers expressing confidence to highlight the closed choices of alternation in propositions. “Boosters suggest that the writer [speaker] recognizes potentially diverse positions but has chosen to narrow this diversity rather than enlarge it, confronting alternatives with a single, confident voice” (Hyland, 2005). For example;

“We have certainly(B) made a strong connection …”

“I am confident(B) that he will utilize his rich experience”


In Dasho’s speeches, boosters represented definiteness, confidence, and persuasion, adding credibility to his speech. The boosters used indicated a reduction of choices, conflict, and stated his certainty, using resources like ‘certainly’ and ‘confident’. Further resources of boosters, showed self-promotion in establishing his obligation and confident image while delivering speeches to his audiences in a convincing manner.


The boosters in the speeches showed overstatements and exaggerations, nevertheless seen as effective and appropriate means of persuasion in conveying Dasho’s commitment to his statements. In a way, boosters would benefit the EFL learners to initiate WTC as Hyland (2005) stated that it will help to support their claim and highlight the truth of a statement when they communicate with English speaking counterparts.


4.5. Hedges:

Hedges show an authors’ reluctance to present propositional information which creates a space for alternative dialogue (Fu and Hyland, 2014). In other words, the speaker/writer’s lack of certainty or commitment towards the propositions in the texts is marked by hedges. For example;

“If Imay(H) offer some(H) optimism from a Buddhist perspective, our spiritual masters would probably(H) say that the current trend can be good …”

“… we are talking about(H) the nearly(H) 870 million people in the world who suffer from chronic undernourishment, mostly(H) in developing countries.”


In the excerpts taken from different speeches of the Dasho, hedges created positions of negotiations while expressing his perspectives. The presence of uncertainties and possibilities in the texts signaled that the Dasho built-up a humble and cautious position in front of the audiences, while expressing propositions to achieve credible appeal through discourse. The most interesting finding of this research is that hedges were the least frequently used IM marker in the speeches, contradicting the findings of Dafouz-Milne (2008), Hyland (1998), Hyland and Tse (2004), and Moghadam (2017). This dissimilarity is possibly due to the texts used by the researcher being transcripts of Dasho’s speeches, while these other studies used written texts. As his speeches were spoken and therefore in a more direct manner to convince his audiences, this consequently requires the use of fewer hedges. The other reason for the use of certainties rather than uncertainties could be due to his position as the PM of the country.


Hedges are alternatives ways of initiating communication when speakers/writers lack linguistics items of certainty to close down choices and head off conflicting views. In the EFL context, as English is not the native language, learners lack abilities in the TL. However, following the speaking skills of Dasho, will make EFL learners acquire a higher level of linguistic competence that will help in the development of different ways to communicate orally. Commonly, anyone can respond to direct questions, but having acquired diversity in the art of speaking will help EFL learners be more confident, and initiate WTC with their interlocutors in any environment.


After the analysis of IM markers in the speeches, the researcher believed that the linguistic resources used by Dasho would benefit in promoting EFL learners’ WTC in English and encourage the speakers’ ability and confidence to express their opinions to an audience. When Dasho interacted with the audience, he used attitude markers to negotiate feelings, judge people’s character, and evaluate the value of things. The engagement markers employed in his speeches made the listeners felt his presence at a particular time, and the presence of self-mentions helped to build his personage more trustworthy. Likewise, to display his claim of confidence and competence he used boosters whereas hedges to create an alternative in his perspectives. In a nutshell, the IM markers used by Dasho in his oratory will help to encourage EFL learners to promote WTC in different situations. At last, the researcher believed the knowledge learned from this study will help to develop positive effects on learners’ WTC. The following Table 3 shows the summary of linguistic dimensions presented in the Dasho’s speeches, engaged listeners and promoted WTC.


Table 3. Linguistic dimension of willingness to communicate enactment

Linguistic Dimension of Willingness to Communicate

Communal behaviours

Relation to WTC

Linguistic enactment


Expressing the interactive relationship between the speaker and listener.

Establishes learners to express emotions, assess reactions, and appreciate the value of people

-Attitude markers




*I have the honorto convey the warm greetingsand good wishesof His Majesty…

*His Majesty the King enjoysclosepersonal friendships.

*Ourregion is blessed with abundant natural resources…

Indicating speaker’s presence felt to the listeners in the discourse.

Readiness to get involved in  communication with listeners at a particular time using the target language

-Engagement markers 

*pronouns and interjections,

*modal verbs and interrogations

*…the rich human resources wehave in ourregion.

*The world must progress together or fail together.

So, what next?

Building an honest and sincere personage to make statements more credible to audiences.

Encourages learners to feel free to reflect their identity while communicating verbally and nonverbally in different situations.


  *first person singular

  *first person plural

*I am pleased to report that in Bhutan, we have made goodprogress in improving the living conditions of our people.

Displaying his confidence and competence.

Exhibits full authorization in emphasizing their claims and reaching similar conclusions to their listeners.


  *certainty and confidence

*I have no doubt that this meeting will be yet another greatstride on this journey.

Creating a space for alternative dialogue while expressing individual perspectives.

Inspires learners to feel confident and linguistically competent while communicating with their interlocutors


  *positions of negotiations

*If Imayoffer someoptimism from a Buddhist perspective, our spiritual masters would probably say that the current trend can be good…

Source: A sociocultural study of EFL learners’ willingness to communicate by Suksawas (2011, 203 - 204).



This qualitative study investigated the use of IM markers in public speaking. The researcher tried to convince the readers that the linguistic devices used in the English speeches by Dasho Tshering Tobgay will benefit the EFL learners in promoting WTC, as the speaker is willing to communicate since he is the sole speaker in these situations. The analysis of the study focused on the importance of linguistic knowledge when demanding the improvement of the EFL learners’ psychological readiness to speak in the TL.


In the countries of the expanding circle where English is spoken as an FL/L2, WTC in the TL in a formal way plays a major role, as it is inevitable that students have fewer occasions to communicate beyond the classroom (Zhou, 2015). Moreover, Bergil (2016) stated that the “activities covered during the FL classes should provide various opportunities for the learners to use their language learning skills in different situations”. The change from old-fashioned to insightful and effective teaching pedagogies and designs by the language teachers will help EFL learners to develop WTC. Using TL authentically in communication, students will become autonomous learners and interactive with interlocutors outside the classroom learning environment.


In the Bhutanese EFL context, the concept of considering English as simply a knowledge-based subject has brought the development of oral communication to a standstill outside of school. The social perspective of being exposed to a range of situations demanding communication is still a variable according to the findings of Biddha and Thinley (2010), which affects the motivation and attitude of learners to speak English. However, the analysis of the speeches delivered by Dasho on different varieties of topics showed that he engaged and interacted with his audience in face-to-face conversations motivating them to participate in the interactions. Therefore, the use of IM resources would encourage the EFL learners to initiate WTC because the concept of WTC refers to “the tendency of an individual to initiate communication when free to do so” (McCroskey and Richmond, 1990, as cited in Yashima, 2002).


When communication is an objective of English instruction, control of the right to speak highlights the power imbalance between teachers and students in typical EFL classrooms, and hampers the production of effective oral communication (Cazden, 1988, as cited in LaPrairie, 2014). Swain (2001, 47) concluded that “students should get more opportunities for sustained oral use of the target language” to have a good balance of input and output to be orally proficient. Consequently, students become confident and feel encouraged to initiate WTC to use English in a wider range of academically and socially to overcome their inhibitions. When EFL learners gain self-confidence, they improve their ability to speak in front of others and to talk about what they do with natural grace and authenticity. This can go an extensive approach in enlarging their social circle, creating intense contacts with successful like-minded individuals and networking.


Teachers’ attitudes towards the TL, and their competence and confidence in spoken English, determine the extent and range of their use of language in the classroom and is vital for maximizing its effective use in academic and social situations. The teachers’ interest, habitual use, and experience in the use of the TL will have a great impact on the students’ attitudes toward the development of WTC, as EFL learners need opportunities to have direct contact with English in different communicative situations. It is believed that “higher levels of WTC are associated with increased frequency and amount of communication” (Richmond and Roach, 1992). Therefore, the uses of, the attitudes towards, and the competency in the TL share a direct relationship to the development of WTC in EFL learners to speak English in any situation.


Finally, the analysis of Dasho’s speeches conveyed the communicating bond between the speakers and listeners, showing a readiness to interact and engage with audiences. He presented himself to the audiences displaying certainty and confidence in creating negotiations while expressing his perspectives more credibly. Therefore, this helped to create, maintain, and strengthen a friendly social relationship, while maintaining his authority. The presence of these variables in the speeches of Dasho can be a benefit to Bhutanese EFL teachers in becoming competent in English and in teaching EFL learners. In the same vein, this study should be an advantage to Bhutanese EFL learners in building self-confidence in face-to-face interactions with their interlocutors, creating speaking communities both in and out of the classroom. The presence of sound English speaking communities will help both EFL teachers and learners to develop WTC with their interlocutors in different communicative situations.



1.      Ädel, A., and Mauranen, A. 2010. Metadiscourse: Diverse and divided perspectives. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 9(2): 1-11.

2.      Alemi, M. and Pahmforoosh, R. 2012. EFL learners’ willingness to communicate: The interplay between language learning anxiety and language proficiency. International Journal of English Linguistics, 11(2): 23-34.

3.      Alqahtani, M. 2015. Saudi students’ willingness to communicate and success in learning English as a foreign language. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(6): 1195-1205.

4.      Bergil, A. S. 2016. The influence of willingness to communicate on overall speaking skills among EFL learners. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 232: 177-187.

5.      Biddha, S. and Thinley, D. 2010. Building students’ oral fluency perspectives on the use of spoken English in Bhutanese classrooms. RABSEL, the CERD Educational Journal, Volume XIV: 11-34.

6.      Burgoon, J. K. 1976. The unwillingness to communicate scale: Development and validation. Communications Monographs, 43(1): 60-69.

7.      Cao, F., and Hu, G. 2014. Interactive metadiscourse in research articles: A comparative study of paradigmatic and disciplinary influences. Journal of Pragmatics, 66: 15-31.

8.      CAPSD. 2002. Druk English Series: Book 2 For Class VII. Thimphu: Ministry of Health and Education, Royal Government of Bhutan.

9.      CAPSD. 2005. English Curriculum Framework: Classes PP-XII. Thimphu: Ministry of Education, Royal Government of Bhutan.

10.   CAPSD. 2006. English Curriculum Guide for Teachers: Class VIII. Thimphu: Ministry of Education, Royal Government of Bhutan.

11.   Dafouz-Milne, E. 2008. The pragmatic role of textual and interpersonal metadiscourse markers in the construction and attainment of persuasion: A cross-linguistic study of newspaper discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 40(1): 95-113.

12.   Fu, X. and Hyland, K. 2014. Interaction in two journalistic genres: A study of interactional metadiscourse. English Text Construction, 7(1): 122-144.

13.   Hişmanoğlu, M. and Özüdoğru, F. 2017. An investigation of university students’ willingness to communicate in English in relation to some learner variables. Karabük Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 7(2): 449-461.

14.   Hyland, K. 1998. Persuasion and context: The pragmatics of academic metadiscourse. Journal of pragmatics, 30(4): 437-455.

15.   Hyland, K. 2001. Humble servants of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for specific purposes, 20(3): 207-226.

16.   Hyland, K. 2005. Metadiscourse. London and New York: MPG Books Ltd., Bodmin, Cornwall.

17.   Hyland, K. 2010. Metadiscourse: Mapping interactions in academic writing. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 9(2): 125-143.

18.   Hyland, K. and Tse, P. 2004. Metadiscourse in academic writing: A reappraisal. Applied Linguistics, 25(2): 156-177.

19.   Jenkins, J. and Leung, C. 2014. English as a Lingua Franca: Wiley Online Library.

20.   Khedri, M. Ebrahimi, S. J. and Heng, C. S. 2013. Interactional metadiscourse markers in academic research article result and discussion sections. 3L: Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 19(1): 65–74.

21.   Kheirkhah, H., and Hashemi, M. R. 2014. Exploring meta-discourse markers in the speeches of Iranian leader based. The Iranian EFL Journal, 10(50): 199-220.

22.   Kuhi, D. Asadollahfam, H. and Anbarian, K. D. 2014. The effect of metadiscourse use on Iranian EFL learners’ lecture comprehension. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98: 1026-1035.

23.   LaPrairie, M. 2014. A case study of English-medium education in Bhutan. Institute of Education, University of London: England.  

24.   MacIntyre, P. D., Baker, S. C., Clément, R., and Donovan, L. A. 2003. Talking in order to learn: Willingness to communicate and intensive language programs. Canadian Modern Language Review, 59(4), 589-607.

25.   Macintyre, P. D. Burns, C. and Jessome, A. 2011. Ambivalence about communicating in a second language: A qualitative study of French immersion students’ willingness to communicate. The Modern Language Journal, 95(1): 81-96.

26.   MacIntyre, P. D. Dörnyei, Z. Clément, R. and Noels, K. A. 1998. Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in a L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. The Modern Language Journal, 82(4): 545-562.

27.   McCroskey, J. C. and Baer, J. E. 1985. Willingness to communicate: The construct and its measurement. Paper presented at the Paper presented at the Speech Communication Association (71st, Denver, CO, November 7-10, 1985).

28.   McCroskey, J. C. and Richmond, V. P. 1990. Willingness to communicate: A cognitive view. Journal of Social Behavior and personality, 5(2): 19.

29.   Mirsane, M. and Khabiri, M. 2016. The effect of teaching communicative strategy on EFL learners' willingness to communicate. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 6(2): 399.

30.   Moghadam, F. D. 2017. Persuasion in journalism: A study of metadiscourse in texts by native speakers of English and Iranian EFL writers. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 7(6): 483-495.

31.   Nan, Y. and Liu, L. 2013. Investigating the interpersonal and textual meaning of Steve Jobs’ Stanford speech in terms of Hyland’s metadiscourse theory. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 1(4): 90-96.

32.   Peng J. E. 2016. The Context-Sensitivity of Self-Concept and Willingness to Communicate in the Chinese EFL Classroom: A Case Study. In: King J. (eds) The Dynamic Interplay between Context and the Language Learner,84-103. Palgrave Macmillan, London

33.   Richmond, V. P. and Roach, K. D. 1992. Willingness to communicate and employee success in US organizations. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 20(1): 95-115.

34.   Royal Education Council. 2012. The national education framework: Shaping Bhutan’s future. Thimphu: Royal Education Council.

35.   Sari, A. M. 2014. Interpersonal metadiscourse markers used in Michelle Obama's speech. Bachelor thesis, Dian Nuswantoro University, Indonesia.  

36.   Şener, S. 2014. Turkish ELT students' willingness to communicate in English. ELT Research Journal, 3(2): 91-109.

37.   Sinha, A. C. 2001. Himalayan kingdom Bhutan: tradition, transition, and transformation: Indus Publishing.

38.   Suksawas, W. 2011. A sociocultural study of EFL learners' willingness to communicate. PhD thesis, University of Wollongong, Australia

39.   Swain, M. 2001. Integrating language and content teaching through collaborative tasks. Canadian Modern Language Review, 58(1): 44-63.

40.   Tashi, T. and Suksawas, W. 2018. An analysis of interactional metadiscourse in public speaking: A case study in English speeches of the Prime Minister of Bhutan. International Journal of Engineering and Technology(UAE). 7 (4.38): 975-979.

41.   Yashima, T. 2002. Willingness to communicate in a second language: The Japanese EFL context. The Modern Language Journal, 86(1): 54-66.

42.   Yazdani, S., Sharifi, S., and Elyassi, M. (2014). Interactional metadiscourse in English and Persian news articles about 9/11. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(2): 428-434.

43.   Zareifard, R. and Alinezhad, B. 2014. A study of interactional metadiscourse markers and gender in the defense seminars of Persian speakers. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 4(1): 231-238. Zhou, N. 2015. Oral participation in EFL classroom: Perspectives from the administrator, teachers and learners at a Chinese university. System, 53: 35-46.



Received on 16.08.2019            Modified on 16.10.2019

Accepted on 28.11.2019     ©AandV Publications All right reserved

Res. J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2020; 11(1):67-75.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2020.00011.X