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Volume 16 Number 3, Autumn 2019, Pages 768-1068 PDF Download

Assessing the Development of English Learners' Understanding of the Discussion Genre

    Akiko Nagao

This study used a genre-based approach within a systemic functional linguistics (SFL) framework to assess the development of English learners' understanding of the discussion genre. Fifty-two undergraduates participated in a semester-long course, divided into three groups by English proficiency level. They were administered surveys at the beginning and end of the semester to assess their choice of appropriate lexicogrammatical features. A structural move analysis of their pre- and post- discussion genre writing task was conducted, and the frequency of -ly adverbs was analysed. The results indicated that learners' understanding of discussion genre structure improved regardless of English proficiency. Depending on English proficiency, different features of lexicogrammatical functions, especially related to interpersonal meaning improved. The post- survey showed that higher-English-proficiency learners' use of auxiliary verbs such as should, will, and can dramatically improved.

Keywords: L2 writing, genre-based approach, discussion genre, systemic functional linguistics