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First Language versus Foreign Language

Fluency, Errors and Revision Processes in Foreign Language Academic Writing


Esther Odilia Breuer

First Language versus Foreign Language deals with the «battle» that takes place in writers’ heads when writing in a foreign language. Most academics today need to write in another language than in their first language (L1) in order to publish in internationally recognized journals. However, as writing research has shown, writing in a foreign language (FL) presents difficulties. The study compares L1 and FL writing, analysing written texts and the writing processes in terms of fluency, errors and revision. It takes a closer look at the «battle» between the L1 and the FL and offers useful insight. The findings allow a glimpse at the processes that take place in the brain, calling for new didactic approaches to FL writing.
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8 Conclusion


8  Conclusion

The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it into his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters. (Cus d’Amato)

The aim of this study has been to examine the differences in the writing processes in L1 and FL academic writing and to analyse the ‘battle’ of the L1 and the FL during the writing processes. Different planning strategies were employed by the participants in a study designed to examine whether such variations in approach have an effect on the writing processes and on the linguistic quality of the texts produced (see also Manchón and Roca de Larios 2007: 553). In addition, the study intended to reveal whether there are interrelations between fluency/productivity, error types and revisions. To this end, ten L1 German students of English philology were asked to write two L1 and two FL academic essays each, one after planning by note-taking and one after planning by freewriting in each language.

The following subchapters present a summary of the results of the study (Chapter 8.1), as well as a set of suggestions for possible future projects that can be developed using the data and the insights collected here (Chapter 8.2).

8.1  Results

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