ERIC Number: ED329125
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Oct
Fixed Expressions in Written Texts: Implications for Assessing Writing Sophistication.
A writing test was developed with validation based on the assumption that the use of formulaic language is an important aspect of language proficiency and should be considered in assessing native and non-native English proficiency. Formulaic language is defined as language chunks learned and used together (e.g., "false sense of security"), including idioms, proverbs, common sayings, collocations, and short-set and long-set expressions. The test consisted of 50 sentences, each containing one formulaic verb-and-noun expression. In each expression, the verb was missing, and examinees were required to supply the verb most likely to be used in a formal written context. Participants included 27 university teachers of English, 44 American sophomore and junior university students, and 97 entering university students of advanced English as a Second Language (ESL). As expected, faculty provided the most appropriate responses and did so the most frequently. The American students provided common responses but showed less familiarity with the more formal combinations, and ESL students provided the least common and least appropriate responses. It was concluded that a test with rarer and more formal items from written discourse is likely to show greater difference among native speakers. Full response tabulations from the five test items are presented. (MSE)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at a Meeting of the English Association of Pennsylvania State System Universities (October 1990).