CONTRASTIVE ANALYSES OF ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES AND COHESIVE ELEMENTS IN NATIVE AND ESL CHINESE, ENGLISH, AND SPANISH WRITING

NATHANIEL NORMENT, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the differences and similarities in the relationship between the organization of events by college freshmen in expository and narrative compositions written in their native language (English, Chinese, and Spanish), and by the native Chinese and Spanish students in a second language (English). This study explored the kinds of cohesive elements which have been identified as operating in English texts; it determined the presence of these elements used when English, Chinese, and Spanish subjects write in their native language. The sample, consisting of Chinese (n = 30), English (n = 30), and Spanish (n = 30), was drawn from the target population of students enrolled in BW or ESL courses at the college. The data included 300 writing samples produced by subjects from the three language groups. The compositions were based on responses to topic questions students were requested to write about during their regularly scheduled classes (50 minutes).^ The findings indicated that (1) There is a distinct organizational structure appearing in the writing produced by native English, Chinese, and Spanish college students with each group across modes. (2) The organizational structure of a language is produced across modes. (3) When native Chinese and Spanish subjects write in English, they employ the same organizational structure that appears in their native language. (4) The frequency of use of cohesive devices appearing in the writing products of native English, Chinese, and Spanish college students can be identified by categories to present a "frequency pattern" for each language group across modes. (5) The percentage of use of cohesive devices (for each category) within groups by native English, Chinese, and Spanish subjects appears across modes. (6) The three language groups produced more sentences and used more cohesive devices when writing in the narrative mode than when writing in the expository mode.^ It was suggested by the investigator that English as a second language and basic writing teachers develop at least minimum knowledge of contrastive analysis and contrastive rhetoric. Teachers of students for whom English is their second language must identify the language background of students writing in English and plan activities which will help students write more proficiently in English. ^

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics

Recommended Citation

NORMENT, NATHANIEL, "CONTRASTIVE ANALYSES OF ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES AND COHESIVE ELEMENTS IN NATIVE AND ESL CHINESE, ENGLISH, AND SPANISH WRITING" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8409265.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8409265

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