Effects of explicit instruction in nominalisation on ESL learners’ academic writing

Guangwei Hu, Miller Reyes Perez

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Extant research has highlighted the essentiality of grammatical metaphor (GM) as a linguistic resource in academic writing. Drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), this study investigated the relationship between explicit instruction in nominalisation as one type of GM and ESL learners’ mastery of this key resource. Adopting a true experimental design, the study involved 38 Filipino professionals in Singapore who needed to pass IELTS for academic or professional purposes. The students in the experimental group received 9.5 hours of explicit instruction in various aspects of nominalisation, whereas those in the control group received the same amount of instruction focusing on error analysis, formality of language, as well as the use of the Academic Word List (AWL) and the British National Corpus. Comparisons between the texts produced by the experimental and the control group in response to timed writing tasks revealed quantitative and qualitative differences in the frequencies of nominalisations employed, the lexical density of texts, and the quality of essay organisation. The findings constitute new evidence of the importance of GM as a powerful linguistic resource for helping learners write texts that are valued in academia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-54
Number of pages28
JournalIberica
Volume2022
Issue number43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • academic writing
  • explicit instruction
  • grammatical metaphor
  • nominalisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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