Good Writing" in increasingly internationalized U.S. universities: how instructors evaluate different written varieties of English
This study investigates how university instructors from various disciplines at a large, comprehensive university in the United States evaluate different varieties of English from countries considered "outer circle" (OC) countries, formerly colonized countries where English has been transplanted and is now used unofficially and officially to varying degrees. The study was designed to address two gaps in the research: (1) how instructors in increasingly internationalized U.S. universities evaluate different written varieties of English, since many international students may be writing in an L1 other than American English, and (2) how instructors' first language and/or disciplinary backgrounds appear to affect their evaluations. Through a comparison of rankings and qualitative analysis of interview data, the study examines whether the participating instructors value the same features and characteristics in writing, such as text and organization features, found in American English and varieties of OC written English. In addition, it examines whether one's first or native language or one's disciplinary training affects the perception and evaluation of these particular varieties of English. This study showed that what is currently valued and expected by instructors from various disciplines in U.S. universities is what may be identified as an "American" style of writing; participants expected an organization providing a clear purpose up front, including paragraphs of a certain length, and containing sentences perceived as more direct and succinct. In addition, given the overall agreement on the element of good writing demonstrated in how composition and content area professors ranked the writing samples, my study suggests that what is being taught in composition is preparing student for the writing expected in content area classes. Last, my findings add to World Englishes (WE) research by adding a writing component to WE attitudinal research studies, which have previously focused on oral production. Almost equal numbers of Native and Non-Native English Speakers (NESs and NNESs) participated, and the NNESs appeared more tolerant of different varieties, unlike the preference for inner circle norms noted in previous studies. This study, therefore, has implications for writing research and instruction at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as informing the field of World Englishes.
- Collier, Lizabeth C (Author)
- Matsuda, Aya (Thesis advisor)
- Wiley, Terrence (Committee member)
- Mccarty, Teresa (Committee member)
- Friedrich, Patricia (Committee member)
- Arizona State University (Publisher)