Author: Jiang, Yue
Title: Comparing content connections of discourse synthesis in L1 Chinese and L2 English integrated writing among Chinese English majors
Advisors: Zhu, Xinhua (CBS)
Degree: DALS
Year: 2023
Subject: Language and languages—Study and teaching
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: iv, 163 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Integrated writing (IW) is conceptualized as applying writing with other language skills (e.g. reading or listening) to process external sources via discourse synthesis to coordinate the content from divergent sources and develop an integral argument. In other words, the completion of IW tasks involves selecting, organizing and connecting the content of input sources to construct a source-based composition. Within the IW process, the role of “connecting/connection” has been highlighted, as it directly reflect the “integration” of selecting and organizing content as a continuous mental process to construct meaning in IW tasks topically, rhetorically and semantically. Meanwhile, a number of cross-linguistic IW researchers have also suggested that a cross-linguistic interaction of cognitive operations may occur among the learners with advanced academic L2 competence when they connect content in L1 and L2 IW tasks. Although the importance of content connection and the L1-L2 interaction in IW cognitive process have been discussed theoretically, it has not been addressed clearly and fully in the existing IW evaluative systems and the EFL instructional context in China. Therefore, this present study aims to bridge the research gaps by developing a framework with detailed indicators to measure the performance of content connection comprehensively, and comparing the use and effect of the three-dimension content connection on holistic performance between L1 Chinese and L2 English IW to examine the potential cross-linguistic relation in IW among Chinese English majors.
Drawing upon the extant research on connection of discourse synthesis, this study proposes a three-dimension framework (i.e. content types selection, rhetorical patterns and logical relations), to measure the learners’ performance of content connection in L1 Chinese and L2 English IW tasks with respect to topical-relevance selection, rhetorical expression and semantic logic. By applying the framework as an analytic instrument, the learners’ use of content connection in L1 and L2 IW tasks was coded via cognitive discourse analysis and compared via Z-test, while the predictable effect of each dimension of content connection on holistic IW performance were further identified and compared intra-linguistically and inter-linguistically via a series of linear regression analyses. The potential mediate role of L2 proficiency in the cross-linguistic relation of L1 Chinese and L2 English IW tasks were decided via the mediate effect analyses.
The results of this study reveal that, the Chinese English majors’ use of content connection was divergent in the IW tasks of two languages in terms of rhetorical patterns. Meanwhile, the high- and some medium-performed students were able to achieve the task requirements and text hierarchy consciously by connecting more source-related content in IW tasks, while the low-performed students only concentrated to meet the word limit rather than synthesizing relevant content meaningfully. Furthermore, the predictive effect of the three-dimension content connections on the IW performance also varies in L1 Chinese and L2 English IW, in which CIW performance was predicted by content types selection and rhetorical patterns, while EIW performance was predicted by rhetorical patterns and logical relations. The different effect of content connection on IW performance suggested that even an individual learner could perform differently in his/her Chinese and English IW tasks, because their perceptions and experience of addressing the task requirements and the text hierarchy in CIW were different from those in EIW. More important, the study has captured significant correlation on content connection operations and IW performance between CIW and EIW, reconfirming that the cross-linguistic relation applies to analyze the L1-L2 cognitive interaction in bilingual IW tasks. However, when examining the cross-linguistic effect of content connection on IW holistic performance, the study found that the performance of content connection in L2 English significantly predicted the L1 Chinese holistic performance in terms of content types and rhetorical patterns, while the performance of content connection in L1 Chinese does not differ the holistic performance in L2 English statistically, though L2 proficiency was likely to mediate the effect of logical relations in L1 content connection on L2 IW performance. Given the aforementioned results, though the study has echoed to the findings of most prior research to a large extend in this field, it has validated the applicability of the proposed framework to IW assessment in L1 Chinese and L2 English language. More important, it has also specified the extent to which the content connections differ and predict IW performance, as well as provided empirical evidence of applying cross-linguistic theory in the authentic instructional context of bilingual IW education.
In all, the study has contributed to the IW research by developing a framework to analyze the performance of content connection, so that the competence of discourse synthesis in IW can be measured as a continuous mental process rather than separated sections; In addition, by comparing the use of content connection in L1 and L2 IW and exploring the effect of content connection on IW holistic performance intra-linguistically and inter-linguistically, the L1-L2 cognitive interaction in IW can be captured, so that the bilingual IW education can be promoted and optimized by systematically integrating the instructional sources of L1 Chinese and L2 English.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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