Writing and Related Problems for EFL Students

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Tabriz University

Abstract

ESL students who write in English may present written material in a rhetorical and organizational mode that reflects the pattern which is valued in their native culture and rhetoric. Considering the violation of English code of writing in the writings of Iranian students, we will notice one common characteristic: They are reluctant (or ignorant of) to write a unified paragraph. Their writing consists of one whole page or two. They do not divide their writing into separate paragraphs. The knowledge of the writer on any subject begins and ends as much as the time or space for writing allows with no paragraph separation. The length of sentences is extraordinary, and the position of modifiers does not seem natural according to the code of English sentence pattern. This means that elements transferred from L1 rhetoric result in a production which does not match the English language style and rhetoric, despite the fact that some students lack grammatical competence. As a result, this type of writing is labeled unacceptable, vague or erroneous by English language standards. The focus of this study is to use English major students' writings to identify the elements which violate English language pattern of writing. The sources of errors responsible for non-English language rhetoric will be classified after a short theoretical review in the literature and finally suggestions for the elimination of errors will be presented.
 
 

Keywords


Arndt,V.(1987). Six writers in search of texts: a protocol-based study of Ll and L2 writing. ELT Journal, 4, 257-67.

Berlin, J. (1996). Rhetorics, poetics, and cultures:  refiguring college English studies. Urbana, IL:National Council of Teachers of English.

Brown, D. B.(1980). Principles of language learning and teaching. New  Jersey: Prentice HallRegents.

Christensen, F. (1963). A generative rhetoric of the sentence. College Composition and Communication, 14, 155-161.

Collins, M. (1991). Adult education as vocation: A critical  role for the adult educator. New York: Routledge.

Connor, U. (1996). Contrastive rhetoric: Cross-cultural aspects of second language writing. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Connor, U. (1996). Contrastive rhetoric: Cross-cultural aspects of second language writing. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Crowley, S. (1998). Composition in the university: Historical and polemical essays Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.

Cumming, A. (1989). Writing expertise and second language proficiency. Language Learning, 39, 81-141.

Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (1997). SLA research and language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fliegel, D. (1987). Immigrant professionals must speak American. The Boston Globe.

Hyland, K. (2003). Discourse analysis in L2 writing research.  In P.K. Matsuda, A.S. Canagarajah, L. Harklau, K. Hyland, & M. Warschauer (Eds.). Changing currents in second language writing research: Acolloquium. Journal of Second Language Writing,12(2), 151-179.

Kaplan, R. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. Language Learning, 16, 1-20.

 Krapels, A. R. (1990) . An overview of second language writing process research. In B. Kroll (Ed.) , Second  language writing: Research insights for the classroom (pp. 37-56)  .Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press.

Leki, I. (1991). Twenty-five years of contrastive rhetoric: text analysis and writing pedagogies. TESOL Quarterly, 25 (1), 123-143.

Min-fen Wang & LoriL. Bakken. (2003). An Academic writing needs assessment of clinical investigators who have English as their second language. Paper presented at the Midwest Research- to- Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Commuinty Education, Northen Illinois University, Dekalb, IL.

Mohan, B., & Lo, W. (1985). Academic writing and Chinese students: Transfer  and developmental factors. TESOL Quarterly, 19, 515-534.

Pirsig, R. (1974). Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: An inquiry into values. New York:William Morrow and Company.

Reid,  J.  M. (1982). The process of composition. New Jersey:                 Prentice Hall.

Reid, J. M. (1993). Teaching ESL writing. Colorado State University: New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Richards, J.C. (Ed.) (1974). Error analysis. Perspectives on second language acquisition. London: Longman.

Sasaki, M., & Hirose, K. (1996). Explanatory variables for EFL students’ expository writing. Language Learning46, 137-174.

Schachter, J. (1983). A new account of language transfer. In S. Gass & L. Selinker (Eds.), Language transfer in language learning (pp. 98-111). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Selinker, L. (1972).  Interlanguage. International Review of  Applied Linguistics,10, 209-31.

Silva, T. (1993). Toward an understanding of the distinct nature of L2 writing: The ESL research and its implications. TESOL Quarterly, 27, 657-677.

Silva,T. (1990). Second language composition instruction: Developments, issues, and directions in ESL. In B.  Kroll (Ed.), Second language writing: Research insights for the classroom (pp. 11-23). New York: Cambridge University Press. 

Sundre, S. K. (2002). Cross the “i” , Dot the “t.”  Paper Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL.

Tait, J. (1999). Multiple perspectives on academic writing needs. Paper presented at 33rd Annual TESOLConvention, New York City, NY.

Taylor, B.P. (1981). Content and written form: A two-way street. TESOL Quarterly, 15,5-13.

Williams, J. D. (1998). Models for teaching writing:  Preparing to teach writing. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Zamel, V. (1982) Writing: The process of discovering meaning. TESOL Quarterly,16 (1), pp. 67-76.

Zobl, H. (1980a). The formal and developmental selectivity of L1 influence on L2 acquisition. Language Learning, 30, 43-58.

Zobl, H. (1980b). Developmental and transfer errors: Their common bases and possible differential effects on subsequent learning. TESOL Quarterly 14,469-482.