Structural and Rhetorical Patterns in Generation 1.5 EAP Student Writing


Published on

Presentation at Boston TESOL 2010 by Dr. Justin Jernigan, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Structural and Rhetorical Patterns in Generation 1.5 EAP Student Writing

  1. 1. Structural and Rhetorical Patterns in Generation 1.5 EAP Student Writing Justin E. Jernigan, PhD English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program Georgia Gwinnett College 2010 TESOL Conference Boston March 25, 2010
  2. 2. Setting • Public 4-year college in the southeastern U.S., enrollment: 3361 at last report • Access Mission • EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Program • EAP Program student population (current) approximately 55 • Two levels of instruction, Intermediate and Advanced, in three areas: Structure & Composition, Reading, Oral Communication
  3. 3. Generation 1.5 • Generally have acquired English by using it in natural contexts, in much the same way that native speakers acquire the language (Foin & Lange, 2005). • Reid (1997) used the term “ear learners” • Harklau (2003) urged college faculty working with Gen 1.5ers to: – (1) be aware of the students’ prior academic experience, – (2) promote academic literacy, – (3) help students develop critical literacy, and – (4) recognize diverse needs.
  4. 4. Generation 1.5 (cont.) • The “fluency fallacy” • Miele (2003) discussed the “three-fold” dilemma facing many Generation 1.5 students in the college writing classroom: – Ever-increasing percentage of students entering college in this category – Deficient academic abilities and substandard performance, particularly in academic writing (also Harklau, 2003) – Effects of performance on college-level work and self-image
  5. 5. Participants • 45 Advanced EAP students, representing 16 different L1 backgrounds. • Average age: approx. 19 • Average time in U.S.: approx. 7 years • 25 females, 20 males
  6. 6. Research Questions • What structural and rhetorical elements occur most frequently in the college academic writing of advanced-level EAP learners? • How do the structural and rhetorical elements in the college academic writing of advanced-level EAP learners correlate within essays to reveal rhetorical patterns?
  7. 7. Intermediate Range Questions • How do the structural and rhetorical elements and patterns in the college academic writing of advanced-level EAP learners compare with the writing of comparable NS college students? • How do the structural and rhetorical elements patterns differ based on L1? • How do the structural and rhetorical patterns differ based on writers’ academic writing proficiency (essay scores)?
  8. 8. Procedure • Two essay samples provided by each participant. Average essay length: approx. 450-500 words (suggested length for final drafts, 500-600 words). • Data to this point collected over 3-1/2 semesters • 1-1/2 additional semesters of data collection planned, including collection of NS writing samples.
  9. 9. Procedure (cont.) • 45 (of 90) EAP student essays selected for inclusion in the present discussion (one essay per participant) • Essays coded for 11basic structural/rhetorical elements. • Coded results subjected to statistical analysis (n=45)
  10. 10. Structural and Rhetorical Elements Selected elements: • Anacoluthon – an interruption in the grammatical symmetry of a sentence. Ex: It is very important for people to get a job that they feel comfortable in and are happy while they work. (L1 Korean, male, 19) • Anaphoric ambiguity. A situation in which a pronoun or determiner has a referent that is not clear. Ex: During this period, we receive visitor from outside the country. (L1 Igbo, female, 21) .
  11. 11. Structural & Rhetorical Elements • Asyndeton. The omission of a conjunction where one is normally expected. Ex: It is a personal, people-oriented festival when enmities are forgotten, families and friends meet. (L1 Hindi, female, 25) • Comma Splice. The joining of two clauses with only a comma. Ex: [T]he national election should be an important event for everybody, the participation of everybody in vote should help the country to not being ruled by a tyrant. (L1 Congolese French, male, 22)
  12. 12. Structural & Rhetorical Elements • Fragment. A phrase or dependent clause that is presented as if it were a complete sentence. Ex: Because they still also have their own business to take care of. (L1 Vietnamese, male, 18) • Redundancy – The intentional or unintentional repetition of one or more elements in a sentence, or the addition of an unnecessary element. Ex: The important things were how I felt the fist day after going to an American college, reason why I chose nursing and the fees of nursing. (L1 Malayalam, female, 21)
  13. 13. Preliminary Findings • High-frequency structural and rhetorical elements include subordination of clauses, anaphoric ambiguity (both pronominal and anaphoric-definite), passive construction, and tense shift. • Expected structural and rhetorical elements that have appeared less frequently than anticipated to this point include reported speech, sentence fragments, and question forms. • Preliminary identification of patterns: – Correlation of anacoluthon with ambiguous anaphora – Correlation of anacoluthon with subordination of clauses – Correlation of verb tense shift with subordination of clauses
  14. 14. Preliminary Findings (2) Structural/Rhetorical Number Sample Element Anacoluthon 228 While he is home and waiting for me to get back from school, but sometimes I get the traffic jam (L1 Vietnamese, male, 18) Anaphoric ambiguity 337 Conclusively, when a person is successful, that means that he or she loves their current job or career (L1 Bosnian, female, 18) Asyndeton 9 People from different culture, environments can define happiness (L1 Romanian, female, 35)
  15. 15. Preliminary Findings (3) Structural/Rhetorical Number Sample Element Comma Splice or 116 My mom first makes dough for the run-on sentence pita, it looks kind of like a big round bread. (L1 Bulgarian, male, 18) Fragment 35 Celebrated on the new moon between Oct 13 and Nov 14 according to the Hindu Calander. (L1 Hindi, female, 25) Passive construction 220 Make sure to wash the rice with water carefully; if not, people might get poisoned. (L1 Mandarin, male, 18) Question 4 Can you imagine what the festival is like, and do you want to join them? (L1 Mandarin, male, 19)
  16. 16. Preliminary Findings (4) Structural/Rhetorical Number Sample Element Redundancy 296 When I make spaghetti for my family, they enjoy eating my spaghetti. (L1 Korean, female, 19) Reported Speech 25 He said that some people used personal belongings such as books, papers, and so on to strengthen their body territory. (L1 Spanish, female, 18) Subordination of clause 785 On the other hand, there are three important parts of my life that I want to share (L1 Congolese French, female, 19) Tense shift 343 My friends and I spend most of our time looking at each other’s dress; we also have new set of friends from different tribes and nationality who came to visit their families in Nigeria. (L1 Igbo, female, 21)
  17. 17. Preliminary Findings (5) • Structural and Rhetorical Patterns suggested in the coded data to this point: Paired sample Correlation Sig. anacoluthon & .668 .049 anaphora anacoluthon & .796 .010 subordination verb tense shift & .666 .050 subordination
  18. 18. Suggested Directions • Coding of remaining EAP student samples • Continued collection of NS student essays (comparable population) • Coding of NS data • Cross-checking of coding for intra- and inter-rater reliability • In-depth comparative analysis of EAP and NS academic writing (based on coding results) • Continued identification of correlations among structural and rhetorical elements – patterns in EAP student writing
  19. 19. Selected References • Burton, G. O. (accessed 2009, 2010). Silva Rhetoricae [web resource]. Brigham Young University. Last retrieved March 3, 2010 from ( • Foin, A. T., & Lange, E. J. (2005). Error coding effects on revision in Generation 1.5 writing. Proceedings of the CATESOL State Conference, 2005. • Harklau, L. (2003). Generation 1.5 students and college writing. ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from • Nayan, S., & Jusoff, K. (2009). A Study of subject-verb agreement: From novice writers to expert writers. International Education Studies, 2, 190-194. • Preiss, J., Gasperin, C., & Briscoe, T. (2004). Can anaphoric definite descriptions be replaced by pronouns?. In Proceedings of LREC 2004, Lisbon. • Reid, J. (1997). Which non-native speaker? Differences between international students and U.S. resident (language minority) students. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 70, 17-27 • Rumbaut, R. G., & Ima, K. (1988). The adaptation of Southeast Asian refugee youth: A comparative study. Final report to the Office of Resettlement. San Diego: San Diego State University.
  20. 20. THANK YOU ! Questions? Comments? Suggestions?