Interlanguage and EST writing: Some syntactic evidence

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Abstract

Writers must choose specific syntactic structures when writing text. Will someone who writes about scientific or technical (ST) subjects choose the syntactic structures which characterize scientific text? Do second language students prefer the supposedly less difficult common language syntax? Is scientific background a significant factor in making syntactic choices? Four groups of students were tested: 48 American (L1) and 48 Dutch (L2)-half of whom had computer science backgrounds and half of whom did not. According to this experiment, neither ST knowledge nor language knowledge appeared to affect the choice of ST structures. Even without knowledge of the ST text's content matter, both L1 and L2 technical writers-experts significantly more than novices-tend to write in the ST register. © 1987.

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Ulijn, J. N., & Strother, J. B. (1987). Interlanguage and EST writing: Some syntactic evidence. English for Specific Purposes, 6(2), 99–112. https://doi.org/10.1016/0889-4906(87)90015-9

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