‘Accept This Change’: Corrections to English Academic Writing of Advance Non-native Graduate Students by English Native-Speaking Editors


Native-speaking (NS) editors’ amendments and corrections to texts written by non-native-speaking (NNS) graduate students were analyzed considering two theoretical stances: error correction and editor’s role. Proofreading and editing studies have given much attention to editors’ role in detecting and correcting flaws in NNS scholarly writing against a set of conventions and standards. However, the native-speaking editor’s role in providing idealized versions of text, even when there are none or few language errors, has often been overlooked. NS editors’ changes to a corpus of about 14000 words of academic writing by NNS Saudi graduate students were analyzed. The analysis was informed by parameters set by previous studies on corrections and editing, yet using a taxonomy specifically developed for the purpose of this research. The analysis resulted in categorizing most revisions as mechanic, syntactic, semantic and discourse. However, the analysis detected revisions that do not fit into any of these categories. More than one third of the revisions made were classified as restating grammatically correct English sentences or parts of sentences. These changes were found to be related to ideas and meaning, or organization. Editors’ amendments to grammatically correct texts were thus classified into two categories: reorganizing content and modifying meaning. Findings of this study call for revisiting the long existing debate on correctness, and appropriateness of scholarly texts written by NNS academics. More importantly, however, this study aims to highlight the issue of the NS editor’s authority and raise questions on how dependent NNS scholars are on NS editors.

Author Information
Fatimah M A Alghamdi, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia

Paper Information
Conference: BCE2023
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

This paper is part of the BCE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Alghamdi F. (2023) ‘Accept This Change’: Corrections to English Academic Writing of Advance Non-native Graduate Students by English Native-Speaking Editors ISSN: 2435-9467 – The Barcelona Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2435-9467.2023.30
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2435-9467.2023.30

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon