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Second Language Writing Expertise

  • Sara Cushing Weigle

Abstract

It is not uncommon to observe that, while virtually everyone is an expert at speaking their first language, expertise in writing is attained only rarely and only with great effort. Writing as a technology is quite recent in human history, and widespread literacy has only been accomplished in the past few centuries. Many languages do not have a writing system, and in other cases, the variety of the language that is used for writing differs widely from the variety that is used for oral communication. Even the majority of those who speak a standard language that is used for writing do not develop what might be called expertise. The situation of second language writers is vastly more complicated due to the variety of situations in which a second language is learned, the reasons for learning that language, the relative usefulness of writing in the Li versus the L2, and whether an L2 learner is literate in Li. The second language is frequently not acquired to the same extent as the first language, first language literacy influences the acquisition of L2 literacy in complex ways, and the use of writing in different L2 contexts differs widely. What does it mean, then, to be an expert writer, and to promote the development of expertise in second language contexts?

Keywords

Noun Phrase Language Learn Writing Task Discourse Community Teacher Feedback 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Sara Cushing Weigle 2005

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