Culture and L2 writing

Student perceptions of factors affecting academic writing

Authors

  • Subrata Kumar Bhowmik University of Calgary
  • Anita Chaudhuri University of British Columbia
  • Gregory Tweedie University of Calgary
  • Marcia Kim University of Calgary
  • Xiaoli Liu University of Calgary

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.19538

Keywords:

L2 Writing, Culture, EAP, Intercultural Rhetoric

Abstract

Culture in second language (L2) writing has been researched extensively, though mostly under the purview of contrastive rhetoric and focused on text and contrastive genre analysis (Connor, 1996, 2004, 2008; Kaplan, 2005). Research has also focused on problematizing culture in reference to L2 writing (Atkinson, 1999, 2003; Kubota, 1999). These foci indicate reader-instructor rather than student perspectives: how L2 writers themselves perceive cultural impacts on writing. This study undertakes to fill this gap, investigating L2 student perceptions of such impacts. Study participants (n = 36), students in an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) writing course at a Canadian university, took part in semistructured interviews and reflective writing. Data analysis identified six broad categories of cultural factors affecting student writing: (1) organizational structure as a fixed method; (2) supporting and writing arguments; (3) creating a stronger voice in writing; (4) adjusting to a new academic culture; (5) understanding clarity in academic writing in English; and (6) developing content: quality versus quantity. Findings underscore student perceptions of a monolithic, essentialist view of culture in academic writing. This is an important consideration when designing a student-centred L2 writing pedagogy that addresses student needs. Based on the findings, the article further explores implications for L2 writing instruction.

Author Biographies

Subrata Kumar Bhowmik, University of Calgary

Subrata Kumar Bhowmik is senior instructor at the Werklund School of Education of the University of Calgary, Canada. His research interests include L2 writing and the sociocultural approaches to L2 learning.

Anita Chaudhuri, University of British Columbia

Anita Chaudhuri is assistant professor of teaching in the English Department at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She is interested in the identity construction of language learners, their development in writing and communication, and how pedagogical practices impact curriculum development.

Gregory Tweedie, University of Calgary

Gregory Tweedie is an associate professor in the area of language and literacy at the Werklund School of Education of the University of Calgary, Canada. His research interests include language testing, medical English as a lingua franca, and English as an additional/global language

Marcia Kim, University of Calgary

Marcia Kim is an instructor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research interests include second language writing and teaching and learning English as an additional language

Xiaoli Liu, University of Calgary

Xiaoli Liu earned her doctoral degree with a specialization in language and literacy at the Werklund School of Education of the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research focuses on critical thinking in EAP.

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Published

2021-08-15

How to Cite

Bhowmik, S. K. ., Chaudhuri, A. ., Tweedie, G. ., Kim, M. ., & Liu, X. . (2021). Culture and L2 writing: Student perceptions of factors affecting academic writing. Writing and Pedagogy, 12(2-3), 223–255. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.19538

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