Punctuation and Spelling in Learners’ Writing

| November 1, 2009
Title
Punctuation and Spelling in Learners’ Writing

Keywords: punctuation, spelling, writing, teaching

Authors
Hossein Shokouhi & Sara Zadeh-Dabbagh
Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran

Bio Data
Dr. Hossein Shokouhi is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz. He received his Ph.D. in Australia , 1996. He has published book chapters and several articles in international and local journals. He has also delivered papers in many European countries. Currently, he s teaching Discourse and Pragmatics, Psycholinguistics and Applied Linguistics at postgraduate level.

Sara Zadeh-Dabbagh, is an instructor of TEFL at Shahid Chamran University and the University of Medical Sciences of Jundishapour. She did her M.A. at Chamran University . She is active in teaching writing, reading and speaking courses.

Abstract
Despite their apparent straightforwardness, certain features of language seem almost less teachable. The learners writing is often full of minor errors on surface features that make it hard for the reader to make sense of it, let alone appreciate its content. These language features are taught to students of English during their first two years of education at university. However, whether these courses accomplish that goal to an acceptable point is questionable.

The present study focuses on two such aspects of writing, punctuation and spelling, in the writing of advanced level students at an Iranian University. For this purpose, three different subject groups are chosen from among those who have passed Grammar and Writing I, Grammar and Writing II, and Advanced Writing. Using a recognition-production (henceforth R-P) and a composition task, the performance of these groups is compared in various aspects of punctuation. For the measurement of spelling, a descriptive approach is taken based on the misspellings observed in the students’ compositions. These errors are classified according to their assumed causes, and frequency counts are performed for the words of each category. The results of the punctuation and spelling tasks are compared across test items, subject groups and task types, using various statistical means. Overall, it was found that the courses mentioned above did not make much contribution to the development of the students riting in terms of spelling and punctuation.

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See pages: 3-27

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Category: Teaching Articles, Volume 40