Sunday, October 3, 2010
Writing is involving. It requires thinking about and using language to communicate meaning. Writing isn't dialectical in the way speaking is; there is no other participant in the process that interprets and contributes to the continuity of the communication. It is the writer alone that negotiates appropriate language to use and the information they want to communicate. When someone is writing, they must go through a conscious language exercise in their mind, conjuring up the words they know that they think will fit best in the context they’ve created in their written piece. The recollection of known language is more difficult if the learner is not in a context. As conversation creates a context, so does writing. The difference is that while conversation is spontaneous and the learner must quickly react with language they feel is appropriate, writing can be done at a pace that is comfortable for the learner because there is no dependent other in the process of language output. The learner is given more time and much more control to both use the language they deem suitable and to find out suitable language if they don’t know it (using a dictionary, textbook, etc.). Thus writing can be used to harness language in a controlled environment allowing the learner to become more comfortable with language that is context related. I wonder if this could be a useful tool to use for those that cannot speak or listen well enough to participate in regular conversation. Given that it is context-related; will the leaner better remember the language because they used it in an authentically created context? Could writing also be a good substitute for language output when the learner does not have easy access to a speaking partner? What I want to explore with my paper is the potential for a teaching approach focusing on writing to drastically improve a learner’s language awareness, fluency and even vocabulary and to perhaps expedite the language acquisition process.