Comparing L1 and L2 Writing in Middle School


Fall 12-14-2014



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Julia Reimer

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Bonnie Swierzbin

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Ginna Grussing


This study examines L1 and L2 writing of middle school students and compares each participant’s use of noun phrases.This study used ten participants, all of whom were in sixth grade. Five of these participants were L2 writers, and five of them were L1 writers. Many of the L1 and L2 participants were high proficiency students, but two of the L2 participants were intermediate and low proficiency writers. The method of text analysis was used to gather results. This study found that L1 speakers used a slightly greater percentage of complex noun phrases than L2 speakers. Another significant finding was that L1 texts generally showed greater lexical variation in their head nouns than L2 texts.The results of this study imply that students should be encouraged to use new grammatical structures in their writing and that content area teachers would benefit from using ESL strategies to further their students’ writing development.


Middle school EL writing, text analysis, noun phrases, academic writing

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