Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2007;8(1):95-118.
Published online June 30, 2007.
Effects of First Language on Second-Language Writing
Jeong Kang Mi
Many studies of L1-L2 transfer have confirmed that successful English writing should be based on a better understanding of the nature of the writing instruction that EFL students experience in a native language (Carson & Kuehn, 1992; Kobayashi & Rinnert, 1992 Ortega, 2004). This study attempted to investigate the role that L1 writing ability has in L2 writing development across Korean university students who have an intermediate level of overall English proficiency. Data from two writing samples, one in Korean and the other in English, revealed that academic writing quality in L2 is the manifestation of the students' L1 cognitive, rhetorical, and linguistic factors, confirming L1 transfer in L2 writing. The more skilled the students were in their L1, the more highly they performed in the L2 writing task. Expert writers were significantly different from weak writers in that they attended more to qualities of discourse organization, content, and language use while writing in L1 and L2. Qualitative analysis indicates that within-subjects' first and second languages were basically analogous in cognitive processes, that is, organization patterns and problem-solving behaviors, suggesting that they used relevant knowledge resources in their mother tongue even in L2 text production. This study pedagogically supports the integration of a native language into L2 classroom writing experience as a complementary resource for meta-linguistic and meta-cognitive deficits in second-language writing performance.
Key Words: L1 transfer;writing strategy;L2 learning
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