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by: Sadie Wolf

SecondLanguageLiteracy ENGL725

Sadie Wolf
GPA 3.71


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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sadie Wolf on Sunday November 1, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL725 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see /class/233525/engl725-indiana-university-of-pennsylvania in Foreign Language at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


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Date Created: 11/01/15
Second Language Literacy WanNing Yeh ENGL 725 Dr David Hanauer Dec 5th 2006 Introduction According to Silva if such differences exist then to make intelligent decisions about adopting and or adapting Ll practices ESL writing practitioners need to have a clear understanding of the unique nature of L2 writing of how and to what extent it differs from L1 writing 191 L2 writing and L1 writing are different from each other The usage of grammar vocabulary rhetorical tendencies sentence structures and writing styles in the L2 English writing can be different based on the diverse languages and cultures Those differences can cause misunderstandings and increase the complexity to the readers who speak English as the second language According to Connor 1he SapirWhorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity is basic to contrastive rhetoric because it suggests that languages affect perception and thought in different ways 495 Furthermore when Standard English was spread throughout the world it was affected by the local languages Ll Standard English was converted into World Englishes which are used by the people who speak English as the second language The language learners are emerged in the exposure of World Englishes The English education environment can affect how the language leamers learned English and this can respond to the differences in L2 writing Writing is a human activity which reaches into all other areas of human endeavor 7 expansive in a way that casts doubts on conventional boundaries between individual and society language and action the cognitive and the social indicated by Atkinson 10 Writing is not just a process of delivering someone s opinions or information Instead it consists of many components the culture the social the cognitive etc which in uence how L2 writers conduct papers The writing style would affect how the readers perceive the information Research Problem and Context The purpose for doing this research was because I wanted to nd out how people perceive literacy writing with different language backgrounds At the beginning of each semester I would look through the syllabi and search for academic journals written in English by Asian authors because overall these articles seemed less difficult to understand for me the nonnative speaker Additionally I took Dr David Hanauer s Second Language Teaching in summer one session The journals I read were written by both native English speaking authors and nonnative speakers From my perspective some of the journals written by the native English speaking authors would seem more difficult for nonnative speakers because the sentence structures vocabulary and grammar used by the native English speaking writers seemed much more complicated than those used by the Asian authors For these reasons above I chose to research this problem whether the academic articles written in English by Mandarin speaking authors are easier for Mandarin speaking readers to comprehend Research Questions 1 Are academic articles written in English by Mandarin speaking authors easier for Mandarin speakers to read than articles written by native English speakers 2 What are the reasons making the articles written by native English speaking authors more difficult and complicated Methodology Participant The five participants who were involved in this research were enrolled in ENGL 725 Second Language Literacy during Fall Semester 2006 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania Four of the participants were PhD students and one was a MA student in the TESOL program Three of the participants were from Taiwan and two were from China All of them speak Chinese Mandarin Chinese Three of the participants were male and two were female The reason for choosing the TESOL students was because the articles I chose were related to their background knowledge and I wanted to find out the reasons which make the articles easier or more difficult Also the purpose of choosing the Mandarin speakers was because I wanted to find out if their reactions would be the same as mine or not we share similar cultures and languages Procedure 1 Material The six articles were chosen from The Modern Language Journal and the Journal of Second Language Writing Three of the articles were written by native English speakers and three were written by Chinese Mandarin Chinese speakers All of the articles were related to second language learning The participants read segments from the six articles chosen Each of the segments was approximately two hundred fty words The siX segments were randomly alternated between the native English speaking and nonnative English speaking writers The purpose for using these articles was because they were related to the participants background knowledge 2 Process The participants were asked to read siX segments and rank each of them from one to ten very easy to very difficult After ranking the segments they had to compare the segments written by native English speaking authors and nonnative English speaking authors and answer the questionnaires The segments were put into three groups each group consisting of one native English speaking author and one nonnative English speaking author followed by a questionnaire The reason for ranking the segments was because I wanted to know how the participants perceive the segments Also the questionnaires were used to discover the reasons why the segments were ranked lower or higher and to understand the participants language backgrounds The problems in This Study There four problems this research 1 Participants education background The participants education backgrounds were mixed with MA and PhD in the TESOL program Even though the result showed no difference between the MA and PhD participants the higher education background might have more professional knowledge either in language or theory 2 Journal and Content There were two articles selected from the Journal of Second Language Writing and four were selected from The Modern Language Journal The difficulty levels of the articles from two joumals might be different to some extent Even though the articles were all about second language learning two focused more on the strategies in learning and the rest were about second language writing In order to get the most accurate results the contents should be similar 3 Genre The genres in the segments were mixed with narration theory and analysis The nature of the genre might cause the false impression that the articles are highly difficult 4 Ranking System The ranking uctuated according to personal opinion that one participant ranked higher than others did There should be a more precise system Result and Discussion In this research I selected six segments related with second language learning from six academic journals They were put into three groups followed by a questionnaire All the participants were Chinese Mandarin Chinese speakers Before doing this research I assumed that the academic articles written by Mandarin speaking authors are easier for Mandarin speaking readers than those written by native English speaking authors From my experience the academic articles written by Asian authors seemed less difficult and complicated because the vocabulary and grammar seemed easier especially the sentence structures as they appeared less compleX as compared with the native English speaking authors articles In the following I ll discuss the result and the interpretation First of all I would like to start the discussion on the result from the ranking system In order not to affect how the participants rank the segments the siX segments were randomly alternated between the native English speaking and Chinese Mandarin speaking authors From the ranking system the articles written by native speakers were ranked higher than the nonnative speakers by one to four points Neither the MA nor the PhD students ranked the nonnative speakers segments lower than the native speaker Table of the ranking NS NNS NNS NS NS NNS Participant 1 6 4 3 5 7 4 Participant 2 5 3 2 5 6 3 Participant 3 7 6 3 6 8 4 Participant 4 6 5 3 5 4 3 Participant 5 4 3 2 3 4 2 Maximum 28 21 13 24 29 16 Average 56 42 26 48 58 32 NS Native Speaker English speaker NNS Nonnative Speaker Chinese Mandarin Chinese speaker From the charts below native speakers rankings were higher than nonnative speakers This might indicate that the participants noticed the segments written by native English speaking authors consisted of more complexities The average score for native speaker was higher than nonnative speaker by 21 points According to the ranking result it corresponded to my assumption that the academic articles written by Mandarin speaking writers are easier for Mandarin readers to read 6 4 El native speaker I nonnative 2 speaker L 0 Avege scres for NS and NNS 6 4 El native speaker 2 I nonnative speaker Total average score for NS and NNS The following is the list of reasons which make the segments written by native speakers more difficult 1 Content is more compleX 2 Syntax is more complicated 3 The vocabulary is more advanced consists of 4 7 6 syllables 4 Ideas are either too complex or too abstract without examples 5 More complex logic more academic 6 More technical jargon According to the participants the vocabulary sentence structures and contents are the most important reasons that make the articles hard to comprehend the whole point Those reasons were the same as what I mentioned in my research problem and context that the vocabulary and sentence structures used by native English speaking authors are more complicated to understand The nonnative writers vocabulary and sentence structure are easier possibly resulting from the limited English exposure as compared with the native speakers In Mandarin speaking countries Taiwan and China the writing style is conducted from many broad ideas leading to the specific idea In the writing there might be many examples to support and bring out the main idea However in some of the segments the authors didn t present any examples This might be the reason why native speakers articles are considered harder as compared with nonnative speakers Before conducting this research I assumed that if the participants learned English and stayed in the United States longer they would have fewer problems in reading the academic articles The average of the participants experience of learning English is 242 years and the average of experience of staying in the United States is 48 years I thought that if the participants had longer periods of exposure in the English environment they would not think the articles written by native speakers are harder they might be used to the writing style However the result was different from my assumption El Participant 1 I Participant 2 El Participant 3 El Participant 4 I Participant 5 Experience year of learning English El Participant 1 I Participant 2 El Participant 3 El Participant 4 I Participant 5 Experience year of staying in the US The Standard English was affected by the local language L1 and became the World Englishes The L1 can in uence the writing style Also the exposure to English can affect the usage of vocabulary and sentence structures From this research the participants seemed to notice more dif culties reading the Standard English used by the native speakers This result shows that the nonnative readers can comprehend and understand more if the articles are written by nonnative writers


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