Measuring Similarity to Observe Learners’ Syntactic Awareness in Web-Based Writing Environments

  • Min KangEmail author
  • Koichi Kawamura
  • Shuai Shao
  • Harumi Kashiwagi
  • Kazuhiro Ohtsuki
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11841)


Writing in a foreign language is a struggle for learners and revising their writings is time consuming for teachers as well. For this reason, writing support systems have been widely proposed and one of its main functions is to automatically detect and revise errors in learners’ writings. However, the detection technologies are a work in progress and the effectiveness of error revision feedback is arguable. Meanwhile, numerous efforts have been made to enhance learners’ writing proficiency and reduce errors. Reading is considered as one of the important strategies. However, few studies have reported the linguistic knowledge that learners pay attention to and how they use the knowledge of web-based learning in their writings. In this paper, we performed a reading-to-write experiment in a web-based writing environment and analyzed reading materials and learners’ writings to explore how to observe learners’ awareness of syntactic structures in materials. Sentence patterns, proposed in our previous studies, have been introduced to categorize sentences, and the syntactic similarities between reading materials and learners’ writings have been calculated. The experimental results revealed that students showed higher comprehension of content but displayed poor attention towards syntactic structures in reading activities, if the structures were not significantly salient. It is assumed that the similarity measure is effective in observing students’ awareness of syntactic structures in materials, and further studies are needed to automatically observe the awareness.


Syntactic awareness Reading-to-write Similarity measure Web-based EFL writing 



This work is supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP17K01081.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Intercultural StudiesKobe UniversityKobeJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Promotion of Higher EducationKobe UniversityKobeJapan

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