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Does planning really help?: Effectiveness of planning in L2 writing

Johnson, Mark .D., (2014). Does planning really help?: Effectiveness of planning in L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research, 3, 107-118.

http://pops.uclan.ac.uk/index.php/jsltr/article/view/247

Abstract: Pre-task planning (i.e., planning prior to composing) has long been assumed to lead to L1 and L2 writing improvement. This assumption has historically been supported by L1 writing research from the field of cognitive psychology. However, the results of recent research on pre-task planning and L2 writing suggest that pre-task planning alone has minimal impact on features of L2 writers’ texts. This article provides an overview of how pre-task planning is theorized to impact L1 writers’ texts and examines recent quantitative L2 writing research on pre-task planning, the results of which suggest that pre-task planning may be moderated by general L2 proficiency as well as knowledge of the targeted writing genre. Areas for future L2 writing research are discussed as are the potential implications of future research.

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What Vocabulary should we teach? Lexical frequency profiles and lexical diversity in second language writing

Johnson, Mark .D., Acevedo, A., & Mercado, L. (2013). What Vocabulary should we teach? Lexical frequency profiles and lexical diversity in second language writing. Writing and Pedagogy, 5(1), 83-103. doi: 10.1558/wap.v4i5.1

https://journals.equinoxpub.com/index.php/WAP/article/view/17488

Abstract: Multiple studies on the relationship between lexical diversity and holistic writing quality in a second language (L2) have consistently shown that a greater number of unique lexical items, compared to the total number of words, is associated with better quality writing. The findings of such studies indicate the importance of vocabulary to L2 writing. However, they provide little information in terms of what vocabulary L2 writers need to learn in order to improve their writing. Despite its limited application in the mid to late 1990s, the use of lexical frequency profiles has not been developed as a method for analyzing the vocabulary of L2 writers’ texts and providing insight as to the vocabulary needed for developing L2 writers. This study constructed two lexical frequency profiles of texts written by a homogeneous group of Spanish-speaking learners of English. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the contribution of more and less frequent lexical items to the participants’ holistic scores. The results indicated that word types which occur less frequently in the English language contributed significantly to the participants’ holistic scores, despite the relatively low frequency with which they were used in the participants’ essays. These results suggest not only the utility of lexical frequency profiles in teaching and researching L2 writing, but also that L2 writers may benefit from instruction using frequency information. Pedagogical implications are discussed in terms of how L2 writing instructors can incorporate lexical frequency information into direct vocabulary instruction.

Dr. Cope

Applied linguists needed: Cross-disciplinary teamwork in endangered language contexts

Cope, L. (Ed.) (2012). Applied linguists needed: Cross-disciplinary teamwork in endangered language contexts. Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

It is a fact that the world’s languages are dying at an alarming rate. This comprehensive volume aspires to raise awareness among applied linguists and language practitioners about the needs and concerns of endangered language communities. It suggests that the way forward lies in building language revitalization teams reflecting the levels of expertise that the fields of formal linguistics and applied linguistics have to offer – in how well researchers and practitioners exploit a tremendous networking potential across disciplines to address the needs of revitalization, stabilization, or maintenance in these communities.

A wide range of expert contributors addresses the following themes: (1) how varied language teaching contexts dictate what applied linguists bring to the table; (2) how training in applied linguists can empower members of the speaking community; (3) why we should critically examine the issues and terminology used to describe endangered language contexts; and (4) how linguistic skills can be adapted and integrated, conceptually and pedagogically, into non-traditional teaching contexts. The strength of this collection lies in bringing together expert applied and field linguists whose work represents extensive field experiences, theoretical expertise, and passionate resolve to act.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Language and Education.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Applied_Linguists_Needed.html?id=s9iRZwEACAAJ

Cope publishes on Why applied linguists are needed to work with and for endangered language communities

Cope, L., & Penfield, S. D. (2012). Why applied linguists are needed to work with and for endangered language communities. In L. Cope, L. (Ed.), Applied linguists needed: Cross-disciplinary teamwork in endangered language contexts. Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

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The effect of planning sub-processes on L2 writing fluency, grammatical complexity, and lexical complexity

Johnson, Mark .D., Mercado, L., & Acevedo, A. (2012). The effect of planning sub-processes on L2 writing fluency, grammatical complexity, and lexical complexity. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21, 264-282. doi: 10.1016/j.jslw.2012.05.011

Abstract: This study contributes to L2 writing research which seeks to tie predictions of the Limited Attentional Capacity Model (Skehan, 1998 ;  Skehan and Foster, 2001) and Cognition Hypothesis (Robinson, 2001; Robinson, 2005; Robinson, 2011a ;  Robinson, 2011b) to models of working memory in L1 writing (Kellogg, 1996). The study uses a quasi-experimental research design to investigate distinct forms of pre-task planning (idea generation, organization, and goal setting) and their effect on essays composed by a large homogeneous group of Spanish-speaking EFL learners. Quantitative measures of writing fluency, grammatical complexity, and lexical complexity are statistically compared among five pre-task planning conditions. Pre-task planning condition was found to have a small significant effect on writing fluency, whereas pre-task planning condition was found to have no impact on lexical complexity and grammatical complexity. The authors discuss their findings by suggesting that the predictions of the Limited Attentional Capacity Model and Cognition Hypothesis may not be applicable to writing, that the effects of pre-task planning in earlier L1 and L2 research may have been moderated by the participants’ education and genre knowledge, and that a threshold level of general L2 proficiency may be necessary for pre-task planning to impact L2 writers’ texts.

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