Vol. 31:2 (2018) ► pp. 638–659
Reading-to-write tasks for professional purposes in Spanish as a foreign language
An empirical study among 19 master’s students
A reading-to-write task is a complex cognitive activity. The aim of this study is to gain insight into the difficulties that advanced learners of Spanish as a foreign language for professional communication purposes experience when they have to perform a reading-to-write task. This insight will help to improve writing instruction and training for this particular type of students. In this study, 19 students of a one-year master’s programme in multilingual professional communication (level B2–C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, Council of Europe, 2001) were asked to carry out a reading-to-write task in Dutch, their mother tongue, and in Spanish at the beginning of the academic year. This task was repeated at the end of the academic year. On both occasions, the task was writing an informative synthesis of approximately 200–250 words using three digital source texts in Dutch and in Spanish pertaining to different text genres (i.e., a report from the European Union, a website, a newspaper article). The three source texts varied in lexical and syntactical complexity, content, style and discursive characteristics. All written products were evaluated by two independent raters. We found no general improvement in the reading-to-write task between the two moments, neither in the L1 nor in the L2. We did not find an improvement at sentence, text, or discourse level either. We will explore several explanations for this lack of improvement, based on theoretical models of foreign language acquisition and recent empirical writing research.
- 1.Background and aim
- 2.Previous empirical data on writing in a foreign language
- 3.2Reading-to-write tasks
- 4.1Holistic assessment
- 4.2Analytic assessment
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