Source use and argumentation behavior in L1 and L2 writing: a within-writer comparison

Published on Jun 1, 2019in Reading and Writing
· DOI :10.1007/s11145-018-9842-9
Daphne van Weijen4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UvA: University of Amsterdam),
Gert Rijlaarsdam24
Estimated H-index: 24
(Umeå University),
Huub van den Bergh25
Estimated H-index: 25
(UU: Utrecht University)
The aim of this study was to test whether Cummins’ Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis (LIH) might also apply to writing, by determining to what extent writers’ text quality, source use and argumentation behavior are related in L1 and L2, how effective writers’ behavior is and whether their L2 proficiency influenced the relations between them. To answer these questions, twenty students wrote four short argumentative source based essays each in L1 (Dutch) and four in L2 (English). A within-writer cross-linguistic comparison of their texts revealed that their L1 and L2 writing competencies appear to be related. Furthermore, writers’ source use behavior differed to some extent between languages, but the strong positive correlations found between source use features suggest that in most cases this was more a person than a language effect. Similarly, for argumentation behavior, results showed some learner specific features (e.g. inclusion of titles and reference lists), but differences between languages for others (e.g. the inclusion of both arguments and counter-arguments). Effects of the different source use and argumentation features studied on text quality were limited and no clear effect of L2 proficiency on writers’ behavior or their influence on text quality were found. Overall, in line with earlier research, these findings provide some additional support for Cummins’ LIH and the idea that writers might have a common underlying source for writing related knowledge and practices which they can apply in multiple languages.
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