Is Syntactic Maturity a Reliable Measurement to Investigate the Relationship Between English Speaking and Writing?

| March 25, 2008
Title
Is Syntactic Maturity a Reliable Measurement to Investigate the Relationship Between English Speaking and Writing?

Keywords: syntactic maturity, English as second language, Video Oral Communication Instrument (VOCI), relationship between speaking and writing

Authors
Zhu Xinhua
The North University for Ethnics, China

Bio Data
Zhu Xinhua obtained two master s degrees in English, one of which was in China with a focus in English language and culture and the other in TESL/Linguistics at Oklahoma State University, USA. To date, she has worked in three universities in China. Currently, she works in the English department of the North University for Ethnics of China with her fields of interest being EFL teaching and second language acquisition.

Abstract
Numerous studies have been carried out to study the relationship between English speaking and writing. Researchers have adopted a great many measurements to investigate this relationship. However, the reliability of these measurements has been questioned. So, this study is especially devoted to examining whether syntactic maturity can be used as a reliable measurement to investigate the relationship between English speaking and writing. Specifically, the researchers have mostly attended to the correlation and differences between speaking and writing. In this study, selected 40 randomly selected college-level ESL students who studied in one American university participated in the study. The subjects written and spoken samples were collected for the analysis in this study. The subjects written samples were their diagnostic essays written for a college-level ESL composition course at one American university. Their spoken samples were gathered through their participation in a semi-direct, tape-mediated oral proficiency test, the Video Oral Communication Instrument (VOCI). The measures of syntactic maturity were used to examine the lexical development of speaking and writing of a group of 10 students [out of the 40 students] enrolled in a college-level ESL composition course. The rank-order of the subjects spoken and written data showed that the same subjects belonged to the high and low-rated subjects in terms of both their speaking and writing performance. Most importantly, the study revealed that the measures of syntactic maturity can differentiate between proficiency levels but cannot indicate the differences between two modes.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 10 Issue 1