THE COMPOSING PROCESSES OF PUERTO RICAN COLLEGE STUDENTS OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

MARY ELLEN MARTIN-BETANCOURT, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the composing processes of Puerto Rican college students of English as a second language. The study addressed the following questions: (1) Do the processes of planning, transcribing, and reviewing, as employed by ESL writers, resemble those processes in the first language? (2) What is the role of the first language in the ESL composing process? (3) What processes do ESL writers use that are not part of the first language process? (4) What obstacles arise from the use of two languages in the composing process, and what strategies do ESL writers use to overcome them? (5) What variables indicative of the subjects' language background and cognitive styles might influence second language composing processes? (6) What specific hypotheses can be generated as a result of this exploratory investigation?^ Analysis of verbal protocols produced as the subjects each wrote a composition indicated that the ESL composing process resembles the first language process except for the use of two languages and translation. The subjects planned, transcribed, and reviewed in a recursive, nonlinear manner. They differed in the manner in which they carried out the overall process: One planned meticulously and followed the plan carefully, one generated a limited amount of information but demonstrated the highest level of control over syntax and vocabulary, one generated ample material in a rambling manner, and one integrated the generation and organization of ideas. The subjects varied from the near-exclusive use of English to frequent use of Spanish and translation.^ The subjects solved various language-related problems as they composed; reliance on Spanish and translation increased the number of problems, particularly in vocabulary. Though the subjects were at approximately the same level of development as ESL students, as writers, they demonstrated different levels of development comparable to those seen in first-language writers, as indicated by the extent to which they either produced information and ideas already in their memory or used existing information to develop new ideas and make discoveries. ^

Subject Area

Language arts|English as a second language

Recommended Citation

MARTIN-BETANCOURT, MARY ELLEN, "THE COMPOSING PROCESSES OF PUERTO RICAN COLLEGE STUDENTS OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8624493.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8624493

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