ERIC Number: ED199729
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Spoken Language and the Development of Writing Abilities.
Collins, James L.
Recent research supports the theory that unskilled writers produce writing through the mediation of spoken language. That is, their writing contains inexplicit meanings, or semantic abbreviations, characteristic of conversations in which the listener is familiar with the situational and cultural contexts of the monologue. Two studies further examine this theory. In the first, descriptive essays written for peer audiences in grades four, eight, and twelve were analyzed. Although the total number of words increased with grade level in the samples of weak writing, the rate of semantic abbreviation remained the same, while the increase in words in the strong writing samples was accompanied by a lower rate of semantic abbreviation. In the second study, writings from grades eight and twelve for three different audiences were analyzed. In the strong writing samples the rate of semantic abbreviation decreased from parent to peer to editor audiences, while the weak writers produced more semantic abbreviation for the peer audience than for the other two. While this explanation for weak writing requires further research, it will help writing instructors in assisting students to revise their weak writing in the direction of more explicit meaning and to understand the context-dependent aspects of language. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Semantic Abbreviation
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).