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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Effect of Task Types and Task Condition on EFL Writing Performance Add Dissertation
Author: Huiyuan Chen Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Faculty of English Language and Culture
Completed in: 2000
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Wu Xudong

Abstract: This dissertation tries to find out how different writing tasks, i.e. topic writing (TW), picture writing (PW), graphic writing (GW) and summary writing (SW) can affect EFL (English as a Foreign language) learners' writing performance. The four writing tasks were applied to two proficiency-level university students learning English in one of China's university. Participants in each proficiency level were again divided into two groups and have different time allowance to complete the task. Altogether 224 written texts were analyzed for their display of accuracy, complexity and fluency. The basic assumption is that the concpetual and linguistic demand of different tasks can be the major factors to affect learners' writing performance.

The study find a clear task effect on learners' writing performance. The general results have shown significant differences across different types of tasks for all the nine measures adopted to measure learner performance in the study, suggesting that different types of tasks did lead to varied performances. Time condition is found to affect participants' performance in accuracy and fluency, but not in syntactic complexity. The effect of proficiency was limited mainly to certain measures for one task -- TW. The results, thus, indicate that the participants linguistic complexity is mainly determined by the conceptual demand of tasks with time conditions exerting little influence on it. While accuracy is more sensitive to both task-internal and task-external factors, fluency is more obviously affected by linguistic requirement.

The more specific results concerning individual tasks have shown that the conceptually more demanding task, SW, is related to the highest degree of linguistic complexity. TW, which has been analyzed as conceptually demanding in a special way, is found to be associated with the lowest rate of accuracy for one measure (E/W) and it is comparatively higher than PW in linguistic complexity. GW, which is a linguistically demanding task to the participants, is associated with very low ratios of accuracy and fluency. And PW, the conceptually and linguistically least demanding task, has shown greater accuracy and fluency, but the lowest syntactic complexity. These results further indicate that different writing tasks with different cognitive demand did affect L2 writing but in different ways.

The study has shown that though L2 writing can be affected by multiple factors, conceptual and linguistic demands are the two internal elements capable of accounting for and predicting a large part of performance tendencies in L2 writing. The study also suggests that L2 writing is special in that linguistic problems may affect not only the linguistic formulating process, but also the whole writing process.