Reiteration Relations in Arab ESL Student Writing: Effect of First Language Transfer

  •  Marwan A. Almuhaysh    


Cohesive devices have long been a challenging aspect for second language learners of English, especially for learners whose native language is linguistically distant from English such as Arabic. This study investigates the frequency of using lexical cohesion by Arab ESL undergraduate students studying at the intensive English course at Ohio University. T-test was used to measure the frequency of cohesive types students employed in their writings. Due to the existence of cohesive ties in Arabic that are similar to repetition in English, the study hypothesized that students with lower proficiency levels are more likely to overuse repetition cohesive ties compared to higher proficiency students who have a better awareness of the second language’s linguistic features. However, results indicated otherwise. Repetition lexical ties were used more by the higher proficiency level students. This study findings contradict with other similar studies conducted on ESL students that stated lower proficiency students tend to rely on repetition to compensate for their lack of English vocabulary. The different educational systems and linguistic backgrounds of the participants can be the result of such different findings.

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