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EFL learners' writing processes : the relationship between linguistic knowledge, composing processes and text quality

Abstract : Writing is a complex process both in the first language (L1) and in a foreign or second language (L2). Researchon second- and foreign-language writing processes is increasing, thanks to the existence of research tools thatenable us to look more closely at what language learners actually do as they write (Hyland, 2016; Van Waes etal., 2012; Wengelin et al., 2019); research on plurilingual writing behaviour remains, however, scarce. Thisstudy looks at the relationship between knowledge of language, typing skills, writing processes (writing fluency,pauses and revisions) and the quality of texts written by 30 middle school French students (14-15 years old),during writing in their first (French), and second (English) languages. In the second study, we looked at thiscomplex relationship among a sub-group of 15 middle school French-Turkish bilingual students (14-15 yearsold, residing in France) during writing in their home language (Turkish), school language (French), and English(a foreign language, also learned at school). The third study explores this complex relationship between thesubgroup of 17 bilingual learners (15 Turkish-French bilinguals and 2 Arabic-French bilinguals) and 13 Frenchmonolingual learners.We used a mixed-method study design: a combination of keystroke loggings, pre- and post-writingquestionnaires, students' written texts and stimulated recall interviews. Our participants performed three writingtasks (a copy task, a descriptive and a narrative task) in each language on the computer using the keystrokeloggingtool Inputlog (Leijten & Van Waes, 2013). Keystroke logging (the possibility of measuring precisetyping behaviour), which has developed over the past two decades, enables empirical investigation of typingbehaviour during writing. Data related to writing processes were analyzed from this Inputlog data: writingfluency was measured as characters per minute, words per minute, and mean pause-bursts (text producedbetween two pauses of 2000 milliseconds); pausing was measured as numbers of pauses, pause length, andlocation (within and between words); and revisions were measured as numbers of deletions and additions, andrevision-bursts (additions and deletions between two long pauses of 2000 milliseconds). Typing speed wasmeasured with the Inputlog copy task tool in three languages; we developed the Turkish copy task for our study,and it has been standardized and added to the Inputlog software. To assess text quality, a team of evaluatorsused both a holistic and an analytical rating scale to judge content, organization and language use in the L1, L2and L3 texts, and this qualitative assessment is compared with the quantitative Inputlog measures. We alsocollected stimulated recall protocol data from a focus group of seven writers, as they watched the keystrokelogged data unfold; this fascinating process enabled us to obtain information related to the writers’ thoughtsduring long pauses and revisions. Finally, we obtained background data on the participants’ writing behaviorsoutside the classroom with a questionnaire.Analyses of the keystroke logging data reveal important differences between L1 and L2 as well as between L1,L2 and L3 writing processes, which appear to be linked to our bilingual subjects’ linguistic backgrounds, andespecially their contact with written Turkish (Akinci, 2016). Writing processes were more fluent in French, withlonger pause-bursts, fewer pauses and revisions than writing in English and Turkish. Post-hoc comparisons ofwriting processes in the three project languages show that although there are significant differences betweenFrench and Turkish/English writing processes, English and Turkish writing processes are similar, with,however, significant fluency differences....
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 5:22:08 PM
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Gulay Tiryakioglu. EFL learners' writing processes : the relationship between linguistic knowledge, composing processes and text quality. Linguistics. Université de Lyon, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020LYSE2047⟩. ⟨tel-03124480⟩

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