Writing Natural English Julio Menochelli  [email_address] How research can inform practice
Features of natural writing – The 4 Cs <ul><li>Coherence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The text makes sense to the reader </li></u...
Natural writing <ul><li>“ Writing with confidence calls for a wide repertoire of words and phrases that enable the writer ...
Learners’ writing needs <ul><li>Learners need to write discursively in a wide range of contexts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acad...
Barriers to success: <ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Register awareness...
How can research help? <ul><li>Corpus analysis can look closely at the language of both native speakers and learners, and ...
Macmillan / Louvain project <ul><li>Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native speakers’ academic writing corpus (15,000,000 w...
Key findings <ul><li>2 key problem areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lexical </li></ul><...
Accuracy <ul><li>Lexical choice </li></ul><ul><li>“ University  learns  you how to think and judge with your own mind.” </...
Accuracy <ul><li>Articles  </li></ul><ul><li>“ Although  the slavery  was abolished in the 19 th  century…” </li></ul><ul>...
Accuracy <ul><li>Syntactic patterning / complementation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ some researchers  suggest to reformulate  ...
Fluency <ul><li>Learners tend to have a limited range of linguistic resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They sometimes misuse ...
Fluency <ul><li>“ Often it’s not a matter of finding ‘errors’; the usage will often make perfect sense and conform to gram...
Fluency
Examples from Malaysian students’ writing <ul><li>“ Besides that, homework that is related to reading is a good idea…” </l...
Expressing opinions <ul><li>“ Corpus data indicates that  as far as I am concerned   and  from my point of view   are both...
Expressing personal opinions Collocation   Verbs frequently used in the structure  it is worth + V-ing : asking, consideri...
Expressing opinions
 
Learners’ incomplete understanding <ul><li>“ The Ministry of Education  claimed  that the children should get more free ti...
Collocation <ul><li>“ Unsurprisingly, learners lack intuitions as to which words go with which and this accounts for many ...
Help in dictionaries: collocates of ‘progress’
Collocation <ul><li>“ Parents also need to show a good example to their children.” </li></ul><ul><li>example  noun  </li><...
<ul><li>“ Their children will follow them when they see that their parents are reading.” </li></ul><ul><li>Follow  verb  *...
Colligation <ul><li>“ The place in a sequence that a word or word sequence prefers (or avoids)”  </li></ul><ul><li>Hoey </...
Colligation – ‘therefore’ “ Therefore we can provide facilities without  changing the originality of the place.”   Malaysi...
Word choice – ‘originality’ <ul><li>originality  noun [uncountable]  </li></ul><ul><li>1  the quality of being new, intere...
Word choice – ‘uniqueness’ <ul><li>unique  adjective  </li></ul><ul><li>1  very special, unusual, or good  You will be giv...
Lexical poverty <ul><li>“ Many learners are operating with a very limited repertoire, so their frequently resorting to a s...
Enriching word choice <ul><li>“ Tourism is important to our county and it must be further developed by the government…” </...
Enriching word choice - adverbs <ul><li>“ Tourism is important in our country and it must be developed in order to…” </li>...
Practical help for learners <ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>“ Get it right” boxes appear at over 100 dictionary entries...
‘ Get it right’ boxes:
Practical help for learners <ul><li>Fluency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study pages ‘Improve your Writing Skills’ focus on key f...
Improve your Writing Skills <ul><ul><li>Provide rich description and examples words and phrases typically used in EAP cont...
 
“ In summary, by developing rural areas, promoting local culture…”
References <ul><li>Rundell, M. & S. Granger (2007)  “From corpora to confidence”,  English Teaching  professional  issue 5...
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Writing Natural English

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Writing Natural English

  1. 1. Writing Natural English Julio Menochelli [email_address] How research can inform practice
  2. 2. Features of natural writing – The 4 Cs <ul><li>Coherence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The text makes sense to the reader </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cohesion (flow) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The text’s elements are connected </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collocation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The words are combined appropriately </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Colligation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The word or a group of words are in the appropriate position in the sequence </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Natural writing <ul><li>“ Writing with confidence calls for a wide repertoire of words and phrases that enable the writer to express concepts and perform common functions in natural and stylistically appropriate ways.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  4. 4. Learners’ writing needs <ul><li>Learners need to write discursively in a wide range of contexts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Argumentative essays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dissertations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional reports </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Barriers to success: <ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Register awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different L1 conventions (contrastive rhetoric – Robert Kaplan, 1966 and Ulla Connor ,1996) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How can research help? <ul><li>Corpus analysis can look closely at the language of both native speakers and learners, and discover where learners’ problems typically arise. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Good corpus data enables us to pinpoint those learner errors which are especially widespread and recurrent.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  7. 7. Macmillan / Louvain project <ul><li>Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native speakers’ academic writing corpus (15,000,000 words from BNC + smaller corpus of academic texts) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Corpus of Learner English (3,000,000 words from learners’ argumentative essays from 16 mother-tongue backgrounds including Chinese and Japanese) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Key findings <ul><li>2 key problem areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lexical </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grammatical </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Accuracy <ul><li>Lexical choice </li></ul><ul><li>“ University learns you how to think and judge with your own mind.” </li></ul><ul><li>Register </li></ul><ul><li>“ During the last few decades there has been lots of discussion about…” </li></ul><ul><li>Countability </li></ul><ul><li>“ You need to balance the evidences from both sides.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  10. 10. Accuracy <ul><li>Articles </li></ul><ul><li>“ Although the slavery was abolished in the 19 th century…” </li></ul><ul><li>Quantifiers </li></ul><ul><li>“… every year there is an increasing number of violence around us.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  11. 11. Accuracy <ul><li>Syntactic patterning / complementation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ some researchers suggest to reformulate the hypothesis..” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“… it can also have a bad influence to people.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Fluency <ul><li>Learners tend to have a limited range of linguistic resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They sometimes misuse them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They often use them repeatedly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  13. 13. Fluency <ul><li>“ Often it’s not a matter of finding ‘errors’; the usage will often make perfect sense and conform to grammatical rules. But when we find, for example, that learners writing academic texts use the discourse-marker besides about 15 times more frequently than native speakers writing in the same mode, there is at least an issue to be discussed.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  14. 14. Fluency
  15. 15. Examples from Malaysian students’ writing <ul><li>“ Besides that, homework that is related to reading is a good idea…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Besides that, tourism also give benefit to our economy because…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Besides that the government could promote local culture…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Besides parents and teachers, friends can also motivate teenagers to read more.” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Expressing opinions <ul><li>“ Corpus data indicates that as far as I am concerned and from my point of view are both popular with learner writers but these expressions are barely used at all by native speakers (for whom in my opinion and in my view are far more common devices ). </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  17. 17. Expressing personal opinions Collocation Verbs frequently used in the structure it is worth + V-ing : asking, considering, emphasizing, examining, investigating, looking at, mentioning, noting, pointing out, quoting, recalling, remembering, repeating, stressing Get it right Don’t use the expressions according to me or according to my opinion when you give your opinion.  According to me, the prison system is not outdated.  In my opinion , the prison system is not outdated.  According to my opinion , women and men are equal.  In my view , women and men are equal. For more information on according to , see the writing section on “Quoting and Reporting” .
  18. 18. Expressing opinions
  19. 20. Learners’ incomplete understanding <ul><li>“ The Ministry of Education claimed that the children should get more free time.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Claim implies a statement is untrue or possibly wrong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A neutral verb e.g. state or argue would be better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Collocation <ul><li>“ Unsurprisingly, learners lack intuitions as to which words go with which and this accounts for many errors… using texts to highlight particular collocations, and teaching new words in association with their most frequent collocations are two ways of approaching the problem. Nowadays learners’ dictionaries also include useful collocational information…” </li></ul><ul><li>Thornbury </li></ul>
  21. 22. Help in dictionaries: collocates of ‘progress’
  22. 23. Collocation <ul><li>“ Parents also need to show a good example to their children.” </li></ul><ul><li>example noun </li></ul><ul><li>2 [singular] a person or way of behaving that is considered as a model for other people to copy </li></ul><ul><li>set an example You should be setting an example for your little brother. </li></ul>
  23. 24. <ul><li>“ Their children will follow them when they see that their parents are reading.” </li></ul><ul><li>Follow verb *** </li></ul><ul><li>8 [intransitive/transitive] to do the same thing that someone else has done: What one child does, others will often follow. </li></ul><ul><li>follow someone into something (=decide to do the same job as someone else) She decided not to follow her mother into banking . </li></ul><ul><li>follow someone’s example/​lead Canada may follow the EU’s example by banning these products. • Other students followed her lead and boycotted lectures. </li></ul>
  24. 25. Colligation <ul><li>“ The place in a sequence that a word or word sequence prefers (or avoids)” </li></ul><ul><li>Hoey </li></ul><ul><li>An expression carries the correct meaning but is misplaced / put in a ‘non-preferred’ position in a sentence. </li></ul>
  25. 26. Colligation – ‘therefore’ “ Therefore we can provide facilities without changing the originality of the place.” Malaysian student
  26. 27. Word choice – ‘originality’ <ul><li>originality noun [uncountable] </li></ul><ul><li>1 the quality of being new, interesting, and different from anything that anyone has created before </li></ul><ul><li>musical compositions of great originality </li></ul><ul><li>2 the ability to think of, do, or create something new, interesting, and different </li></ul><ul><li>His writing shows real originality </li></ul>
  27. 28. Word choice – ‘uniqueness’ <ul><li>unique adjective </li></ul><ul><li>1 very special, unusual, or good You will be given the unique opportunity to study with one of Europe’s top chefs </li></ul><ul><li>2 not the same as anything or anyone else Each person’s DNA is unique ▪ They have a totally unique approach to staff training </li></ul><ul><li>3 only existing or happening in one place or situation unique to The problem is not unique to British students </li></ul><ul><li>uniqueness noun [uncountable] </li></ul>
  28. 29. Lexical poverty <ul><li>“ Many learners are operating with a very limited repertoire, so their frequently resorting to a small stock of common general words and phrases is hardly surprising.” </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. learners overuse important but infrequently use synonyms such as key, critical and crucial </li></ul><ul><li>Rundell & Granger </li></ul>
  29. 30. Enriching word choice <ul><li>“ Tourism is important to our county and it must be further developed by the government…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Tourism is crucial to our country’s economy …” </li></ul>
  30. 31. Enriching word choice - adverbs <ul><li>“ Tourism is important in our country and it must be developed in order to…” </li></ul><ul><li>Collocations </li></ul><ul><li>Adverbs frequently used with important 1 </li></ul><ul><li>crucially, extremely, most, particularly, terribly, vitally </li></ul><ul><li>“ Tourism is vitally important…” </li></ul>
  31. 32. Practical help for learners <ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul><ul><li>“ Get it right” boxes appear at over 100 dictionary entries and cover the most widespread and recurrent learner errors. They include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explanation of the source of the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic example of the error </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommended alternatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercises on the CD-ROM </li></ul></ul>
  32. 33. ‘ Get it right’ boxes:
  33. 34. Practical help for learners <ul><li>Fluency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study pages ‘Improve your Writing Skills’ focus on key functions e.g. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exemplification </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expressing opinions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expressing possibility and certainty </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drawing conclusions </li></ul></ul></ul>
  34. 35. Improve your Writing Skills <ul><ul><li>Provide rich description and examples words and phrases typically used in EAP contexts including: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>meanings, nuances </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>register, frequency </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>phraseology and collocation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>colligational features </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>common pitfalls, illustrated by corpus data </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include frequency graphs showing discrepancies between native speaker/student usage </li></ul></ul>
  35. 37. “ In summary, by developing rural areas, promoting local culture…”
  36. 38. References <ul><li>Rundell, M. & S. Granger (2007) “From corpora to confidence”, English Teaching professional issue 50 </li></ul><ul><li>Thornbury, S. (2006) “An A – Z of ELT” , Macmillan </li></ul><ul><li>Hoey, M. (2005) “Lexical priming”, Routledge </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks to Angeline Ranjethamoney Vijayarajoo, Universiti Teknologi MARA, MELAKA </li></ul>www.macmillandictionaries.com

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