A Study of Chinese University Students’ Usage of Logical Connectors in English Argumentations, Descriptions and Narrations

Abstract

Logical connectors are important cohesive devices in written discourse to guide readers through texts. This study aims to examine the cognitive activities that the Chinese university students perform while adopting adversative, causal and temporal logical connectors in English argumentations, descriptions and narrations. It also investigates the factors which explain for the Chinese students' behaviors of adopting logical connectors while writing in English. Three English writing tasks with concurrent think aloud and retrospective reports were served as main elicitation tool. Ten Chinese undergraduates were asked to think aloud while writing an argumentation, a description and a narration. The retrospective reports were conducted right after each think aloud session. The same group of students was required to think aloud while writing on the same topics in Chinese after a two-week interval. Data elicited from the Chinese think aloud corroborated the primary data derived from the English sessions. The English verbal reports and retrospections revealed four main cognitive activities concerning the Chinese students' usage of logical connectors in the process of writing: (1) transferring the usage of Chinese logical connectors into English, (2) using the first logical connector coming into the heads, (3) avoiding the simple logical connectors, and (4) using different types of logical connectors in different genres. The Chinese verbal reports and retrospections represented different cognitive activities as the students would employ other ways to show the links between ideas rather than using logical connectors. These behaviors can be explained by the student's interlanguage and the L1 influence.



Author Information
Yuwei Liu, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2013
Stream: Language Learning

This paper is part of the ACLL2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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