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The effect of mode variation on syntactic complexity in adult E.S.L. composition writing Sinclair, Victor Eugene 1984

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THE EFFECT OF MODE VARIATION ON SYNTACTIC COMPLEXITY IN ADULT E.S.L. COMPOSITION WRITING By VICTOR EUGENE SINCLAIR B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES ( D e p a r t m e n t o f Language E d u c a t i o n ) We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA Se p t e m b e r 1984 C ) V i c t o r Eugene S i n c l a i r , 1984 MASTER OF ARTS i n I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d b y t h e h e a d o f my d e p a r t m e n t o r b y h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t o f \^o^^ju^o^s [jjbut^l • The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 1956 Main M a l l V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1Y3 :-6 (3/81) ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine whether variation in mode of discourse would produce s i g n i f i c a n t differences in syntactic complexity, as measured by mean number of words per T-unit, in compositions written by-adult- students o f English as a second language. To answer this question, compositions were collected from eight classes of Advanced le v e l students in the English Language Training Department at King Edward Campus in Vancouver. Each student in the study wrote eight compositions over an eight week period in the F a l l of 1981. Two di f f e r e n t topics were assigned in each of four modes with the topics assigned to class in random order. The compositions of those students who wrote o n every topic at the appointed time (N=61) were divided into T-units, words were counted and words per T-unit calculated. The mean number of words per T-unit per mode was then determined for description, narration, argument, and exposition. Differences, in mean number of words per T-uhit for six pairs of modes were tested for significance at the .05 l e v e l . The six pairs, narration-description, narration-exposition, narration-argument, description-exposition, description-argument, and exposition-argument were analyzed using a t-test for dependent measures. The results indicated that there were s i g n i f i c a n t differences in W/Tll between five of six pairs with no s i g n i f i c a n t difference only for narration-description. The order of complexi indicated from these results was N=D< A< E. The order of complexity found in this study i s similar to that found in other f i r s t and s e c o n d l a n g u a g e s t u d i e s , i n t h a t argument and e x p o s i t i o n were shown to p r o d u c e g r e a t e r s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y t h a n e i t h e r n a r r a t i o n or d e s c r i p t i o n . O ther r e s u l t s found i n t h i s s t u d y showed t h a t a h i g h p r o p o r t i o n o f s t u d e n t s wrote "out o f mode" when g i v e n t a s k s i n argument and e x p o s i t i o n whereas a l m o s t a l l s u b j e c t s r e m a i n e d " i n ; mode" when w r i t i n g i n d e s c r i p t i o n or n a r r a t i o n . The r e s u l t s o f t h i s s t u d y showing s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y t o be a f u n c t i o n o f mode o f d i s c o u r s e s u g g e s t s s t r o n g l y t h a t where c o m p l e x i t y i s a f a c t o r o f c o n s i d e r a t i o n e i t h e r i n r e s e a r c h or e v a l u a t i o n , mode must be c o n t r o l l e d or r e s u l t s i n t e r p r e t e d w i t h the r e c o g n i t i o n o f a p o t e n t i a l mode e f f e c t . i v TABLE OF CONTENTS C h a p t e r Page I. INTRODUCTION. 1 A. The use o f T - u n i t a n a l y s i s i n s e c o n d l a n g u a g e r e s e a r c h 4 B. An o v e r v i e w o f t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l p r o c e d u r e s 5 C. R e s e a r c h p r e d i c t i o n s 10 I I . RELATED RESEARCH 12 A. F i r s t l a n g u a g e s t u d i e s i n v e s t i g a t i n g t h e T - u n i t as an i n d e x o f de v e l o p m e n t 13 B. S y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y , mode o f d i s c o u r s e and t o p i c 19 C. Second l a n g u a g e r e s e a r c h u s i n g mean T - u n i t l e n g t h as a measure o f c o m p l e x i t y 27 D. Minimum sample s i z e 36 E. Summary o f p r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h 39 I I I . DESIGN AND PROCEDURES 41 A. S u b j e c t s 41 B. A s s i g n m e n t s and m a t e r i a l s 43 C . P r o c e d u r e s 45 D. A n a l y s i s o f t h e d a t a 48 IV. ANALYSIS AND RESULTS 50 A. Mode d i f f e r e n c e s 52 V C h a p t e r Page B. Compar i s o n o f d i r e c t i o n o f c o m p l e x i t y w i t h p r e v i o u s f i r s t and s e c o n d l a n g u a g e s t u d i e s . . . . 54 C. A d h e r e n c e t o mode o f d i s c o u r s e c r i t e r i a 56 V. DISCUSSION AND. CONCLUSIONS 58 A. D i f f e r e n c e s i n c o m p l e x i t y 59 B. D i r e c t i o n o f c o m p l e x i t y 61 C. A d h e r e n c e t o mode o f d i s c o u r s e c r i t e r i a 65 D. Words per T - u n i t as an i n d e x o f c o m p l e x i t y 6 7 E. S i g n i f i c a n c e o f r e s u l t s t o o t h e r a r e a s o f r e s e a r c h 7 ^  F. C o n c l u s i o n s and s u g g e s t i o n s f o r f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h 7 2 BIBLIOGRAPHY .76 Appendix A. N u l l h y p o t h e s e s 81 Appendix B. Example o f a s c o r e d p a p e r 82 Appendix C. Languages r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h i s s t u d y 83 Appendix D. B i o g r a p h i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n on s u b j e c t s 84 Appendix E. Example o f a s t u d e n t c o m p o s i t i o n a s s i g n m e n t 85 Appendix F. I n s t r u c t i o n s t o i n s t r u c t o r s 86 Appendix G. C o m p o s i t i o n t o p i c s , 88 Appendix H. L i s t o f c l a s s e s p a r t i c i p a t i n g .....90 Appendix I . A s s i g n m e n t o f t o p i c s t o c l a s s 91 Appendix J . S e g m e n t a t i o n r u l e s : word c o u n t s 92 v i Page Appendix K. S e g m e n t a t i o n r u l e s : T - u n i t s 94 Appendix L . Agreement between e x p e r i m e n t e r and c h e c k c o d e r : word c o u n t s 96 Appendix M. Agreement between e x p e r i m e n t e r and c h e c k c o d e r : T - u n i t c o u n t s 97 Appendix N. R e s u l t s from t - t e s t p r o v i d e d by SPSS 98 Appendix 0. W/TU f o r c o m p o s i t i o n s by t o p i c 99 Appendix P. Example o f a c o m p o s i t i o n w r i t t e n p r i m a r i l y out o f mode 100 v i i LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1. Mean Numbers of Words and T-units by Topic 51 2. Mean Numbers of Words and T-units by Mode 51 3. Mean T-unit- Length f o r F o u r Modes of Discourse 52 4. Mean D i f f e r e n c e s Between Modes, t-values.and P r o b a b i l i t i e s 53 5. Comparison of D i r e c t i o n of Complexity with Results from Previous Studies 55 6. Numbers of Subjects W r i t i n g P r i m a r i l y Out of Mode 57 7. Mean Words per T-unit by Mode i n Comparison with Results from Previous Studies 70 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to thank the following instructors for parti c i p a t i n g by allowing their classes to be used to enable the gathering of the data for this study: John Godfrey, Stuart Scholefield, L i l l i a n Soga, and Barbara. G e r b e r . In addition, I would l i k e to thank my advisors Dr. T. Piper, Dr. M. Crowhurst, and Dr. L. Gunderson for their patience and advice in helping me to complete this project. 1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of variation in mode of discourse on the syntactic complexity of compositions written by adult students of English as a Second Language (E.S.L.). It was hoped that information from this study, determining whether mode of discourse can affect syntactic complexity, would be useful to instructors involved in composition teaching and testing and researchers who are investigating syntactic complexity in E.S.L. composition. One important area of inquiry pursued by researchers working with both f i r s t and second language learners i s the growth in syntactic complexity in.-the writing of public school and college students. F i r s t language research has established that syntactic complexity in the written composition of public school children increases as those children progress from grade to grade (e.g., Hunt, 1965; O'Donnell et a l , 1967; Blount ;et a l , 1969; Stewart & Grobe, 1979), and that university and professional writers use more complex syntax than do public school students (e.g., Hunt, 1970; Witte & Sodowsky, 1978; Stewart, 1978). Similar results have been reported in second language research. Higher grade public-school students studying a foreign language have been found to write sentences with higher syntactic complexity than have students at lower grades (Yau,11983). . Also, adult second language learners at higher proficiency levels write 2 sentences which are s y n t a c t i c a l l y more complex than those written by learners at lower proficiency levels (e.g., Gaies, 1976; Larsen-Freeman & Strom, 1977; Flahive & Snow, 1979). The investigation of syntactic complexity has been on going for many years. The problem in f i r s t language research has been to find a measure which correlates well with either age or grade. Before 1965, the common units of measurement were mean sentence length, clause length, and the ratio of dependent clauses to a l l clauses, also referred to as the subordination ratio... Various problems were found with each of these measures. Mean sentence length was found to be inadequate because of problems with excessive use of coordination and faulty punctuation (Hunt, 1964, p. 27). Clause length was found not to be a s i g n i f i c a n t measure of language development for children in grades four to 12 (LaBrant, 1933). (The same researcher did find that the subordination ratio correlated with age for children in grades four to nine.) A subsequent study by Anderson (1937) f a i l e d to find a s i g n i f i c a n t relationship between age and the subordination index in a study analyzing the writing done by college students ranging in age from 16 to 24 years. A more complete review of early studies of language development and the use of various measures of syntactic development can be found in Hunt (1965) and in O'Donnell et a l . (1967) . In 1965, Hunt reported research using what he called the T-unit or minimal terminal unit. This now well-known item i s defined as, " ...one main clause plus any.subordinate clause or non-clausal structure that i s attached to or embedded in i t " 3 (Hunt, 1970, p. A). At f i r s t look, one might say that i s the de f i n i t i o n of a sentence. However, i t i s diff e r e n t in that i t i s insensit i v e to punctuation but i s sensitive to co-ordination. Hunt explains, . . . grammar textbooks usually say that a sentence must have one main clause but may also have one or more subordinate clauses and various kinds of phrases attached to or embedded in i t . So cutting a passage into T-units w i l l be cutting i t into the shortest units which i t i s grammatically allowable to punctuate as sentences. In this sense, the T-unit i s minimal and terminable. Any complex or simple sentence would be one T-unit, but any compound or compound-complex sentence would consist of two or more T-units. (p. 4) Other studies quickly followed (O'Donnell, G r i f f i n & Norris, 1967; Blount, Fredrick & Johnson, 1968;), and the T-unit became accepted as a r e l i a b l e index of the development of complexity in writing. T-unit analysis became an extremely popular research tool despite some awareness that s i t u a t i o n a l factors might work to confound the re s u l t s . Hunt, in his 1965 study, had acknowledged the p o s s i b i l i t y that syntactic complexity was to an extent a function of the writing task involved and attempted to compensate by using a very large writing sample. That di f f e r e n t factors could affect syntactic complexity in composition writing had been suggested e a r l i e r by Frogner (1933) and by Seegars (1933) both of whom reported studies indicating that the kind or mode of writing affected the complexity of sentence structure. Later, San Jose (1972), Perron (1977), and Crowhurst (1978, 1980) showed that T-unit length was sensitive to mode of discourse. Additional studies have been done investigating the effects of topic (e.g., Witte and Davis, 1980) and audience (e.g., Crowhurst, 1978). Yet to be done are studies investigating 4 other factors such as knowledge of topic, purpose, time for writing, teacher's expectation, and the form or type of stimulus. A. The .use of T-unit analysis in second language research The T-unit quickly gained popularity with second language (L2) researchers. It seemed to be especially well suited to their purpose and their subjects, in part because punctuation and sentence d e f i n i t i o n can be major problems in L2 writing, perhaps more so than in f i r s t language (L1) writing. Moreover, T-unit analysis would allow for meaningful numerical comparisons between f i r s t and second language learners (Gaies 1980, p. 54), indicating to some degree the p a r a l l e l s between the development of syntactic complexity in f i r s t and second language learners (Flahive and Snow, 1980). When more and better research has been conducted, eventually i t might be possible to say that a pa r t i c u l a r group of adult E.S.L. students write at the equivalent of a grade 6, 8, or 10 l e v e l with regard to syntactic complexity. Some s i m i l a r i t y between the development of syntactic complexity in the writing of second language learners and in that of f i r s t language learners i s to be expected considering that: 1) the progression in E.S.L. structural s y l l a b i i s from the simple to the complex; 2) other areas of research suggest that acquisition may be more of a developmental process similar to f i r s t language acquisition than had been previously thought (Ervin-Tripp, 1974; Dulay & Burt, 1974; Larsen-Freeman, 1976; 5 Bailey et a l . , 1974; Wode, 1976); 3) there i s evidence that the progression in writing in other languages i s from the simple to more complex structures (Reesink, 1971; Monroe, 1975; Cooper, 1976). It seems reasonable to assume that i f the development of complexity in second language writing p a r a l l e l s the development of complexity in f i r s t language writing, then there may also be variables besides the proficiency of the writer which w i l l affect syntactic complexity. The factors which aff e c t syntactic complexity in the writing of f i r s t language subjects should be the same as those which affect syntactic complexity in the writing of second language subjects. B. An overview of the experimental procedures This study examined differences in syntactic complexity among four modes in the written composition of adult E.S.L. students at an advanced l e v e l of study. Advanced students were chosen because at that l e v e l students begin to participate regularly in composition writing and also students can be expected to produce on the average between 150 and 200 words per composition. Eight classes of students wrote eight di f f e r e n t compositions, two in each of four modes, over an eight week period. The four modes were narration, description, exposition, and argument. Each class of students wrote once on each of eight di f f e r e n t topics. Composition topics were assigned to classes in random order and a l l compositions were written under standardized conditions. 6 Compositions were written on a regular class day usually used for free writing. In addition, students did not know they were part i c i p a t i n g in a study and, therefore, i t was expected that they would not produce writing different from what they would normally produce under classroom conditions. Compositions from each student who wrote a l l eight compositions at the appointed times were included in the study. To test for differences in syntactic complexity among modes, compositions were analyzed using mean T-unit length. Mean T-unit length was chosen because i t has been shown to be a va l i d and r e l i a b l e measure of syntactic complexity in previous f i r s t and second language composition studies, and because i t was hoped that data obtained from this study would be useful for comparisons with other groups of both f i r s t and second language learners. Studies using T-unit analysis are discussed in Chapter Two and a f u l l e r description of procedures and method of analysis i s presented in Chapter Three. Selection of modes The four t r a d i t i o n a l modes of discourse were selected for this study because they had been used previously in the several studies of f i r s t language acquisition, and i t was hoped that the results of this present study could then be used for comparison with the results from those f i r s t language studies. It was decided to use a l l four modes to gain as much information as possible about the effect of mode. It i s recognized that students do not usually or perhaps ever write t o t a l l y in a single mode (Kinneavy, 1971) and as Kantor 7 (1976) suggested, most writing contains a mixture or overlapping of modes. Also, there are no rigorous d e f i n i t i o n s for mode. However, Perron's (1977) de f i n i t i o n s have been used and follow the general understanding of what writing in the four t r a d i t i o n a l modes should produce. Perron says: By modes of discourse, I refer to the c l a s s i c a l differences among arguing a point of view (argumentation), explaining a process (exposition), t e l l i n g a sequence of events (narration), and depicting d e t a i l s (description). (p. 1) Perron's extended d e f i n i t i o n s of mode of discourse and those used in this study were given in Perron, 1977, p. 8, and are included here in Chapter Three. Writing Out of Mode Something which has to be taken into account when studying mode and complexity or when conducting studies in which i t i s necessary to control for mode i s that some students do not necessarily write in the mode suggested by the topic assigned. For example, a student may be given an assignment to explain the usefulness of the automobile in that student's native country but w i l l write a story about a holiday t r i p taken by car. While the story may be related to the topic, the student has not responded to the assignment in the mode expected, which would be exposition. Rather, the student has written a narrative t e l l i n g a sequence of events over time. While i t i s true that i t i s extremely unlikely that anyone can write purely in one mode and produce natural writing, some writers w i l l produce work which i s primarily out of mode. There are many possible reasons for this phenomenon. It may be that one mode of discourse i s naturally more d i f f i c u l t to write in than another; the particular topic may be d i f f i c u l t or d i f f i c u l t to get into; a student may lack knowledge of how to write in the assigned mode; or a student may have a perceived adequate but different method of attacking the topic. There may be a c u l t u r a l c o n f l i c t which precludes a certain type of expression. It may be because of a misunderstanding of what i s expected or perhaps a lack of syntactic resources necessary to write in the particular mode. In L1 research, the problem of, students writing put of (expected mode .has been noted by Kantor (1976), Perron (1977) and Crowhurst (1978) and in L2 research by Yau (1983). It i s necessar to be aware of this phenomenon because, i f i t i s true that mode :". w i l l affect the degree of complexity, the results could be interpretted erroneously. A true result of a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between modes could be masked by an excessive intrusion of or an overlapping of modes in the sample. There are several factors which have to be taken into account when conducting research on syntactic complexity in composition writing and, s p e c i f i c a l l y , when conducting research on the effects of mode variation on syntactic complexity. In addition to the problem of students writing out of mode, there i s topic effect and the minimum number of words required for a r e l i a b l e sample. Selection of topics For this study two topics were selected for each mode. It has been shown that topic i s a variable which must be considered, when conducting research on syntactic complexity (Crowhurst, 1978, p. 80), and one of the major c r i t i c i s m s of previous research on mode effect i s that by using only one topic per mode, mode and 9 topic may have been confounded. It i s true that the only way to eliminate the problem i s to use one topic across modes as Crowhurst (1978) did, or to use a l l topics possible in a particular mode. In the circumstances i t was not possible to use a single topic nor, of course, a l l topics; therefore, two topics per mode were used, thus attempting to reduce the probability of topic effect and increasing the v a l i d i t y of the r e s u l t s . Minimum sample size A second reason for choosing two topics was to ensure a large enough sample to get a r e l i a b l e mean T-unit count. One of the major c r i t i c i s m s of past complexity research has been that composition length was often too short, being in the range of 100 to 200 words. Whereas the minimum number of words required per mode has not been d e f i n i t e l y established, various suggestions have been given. Based on the information available, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to say with any certainty what the minimum sample size should be for comparing syntactic complexity between modes in compositions written by E.S.L. students. One might assume that a r e l i a b l e sample need not be as large as that required in a study using a mixed sample of writing. Wynn's (1978) study indicated that, for a mixed sample, a minimum number of words should be 20 T-units or 20 sentences. This can be translated into 200 or 300 words depending on the grade l e v e l of the subjects and the mode of discourse. A "safe" figure, then, for mode comparisons might be a minimum of 200 words. A more detailed review of word counts used in various studies i s given in Chapter Two. The average number o f words p e r mode i n t h i s s t u d y r a n g e d from 389 i n a r g u -ment t o 515 i n n a r r a t i o n . C. R e s e a r c h p r e d i c t i o n s The c u r r e n t s t u d y examines t h e f o l l o w i n g p r e d i c t i o n s : 1. As measured by mean T - u n i t l e n g t h , t h e r e w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y o f c o m p o s i t i o n s w r i t t e n i n t h e modes o f n a r r a t i o n and d e s c r i p t i o n . 2. As measured by mean T - u n i t l e n g t h , t h e r e w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y o f c o m p o s i t i o n s w r i t t e n i n t h e modes o f n a r r a t i o n and e x p o s i t i o n . 3. As measured by mean T - u n i t l e n g t h , t h e r e w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y o f c o m p o s i t i o n s w r i t t e n i n t h e modes o f n a r r a t i o n and argument. 4. As measured by mean T - u n i t l e n g t h , t h e r e w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y o f c o m p o s i t i o n s w r i t t e n i n t h e modes o f d e s c r i p t i o n and e x p o s i t i o n . 5. As measured by mean T - u n i t l e n g t h , t h e r e w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y o f c o m p o s i t i o n s w r i t t e n i n t h e modes o f d e s c r i p t i o n and argument. 6. As measured by mean T - u n i t l e n g t h , t h e r e w i l l be a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y o f c o m p o s i t i o n s w r i t t e n i n t h e modes o f e x p o s i t i o n and argument. For s t a t i s t i c a l a n a l y s i s , t h e r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s were g i v e n i n t h e form o f n u l l h y p o t h e s e s and t e s t e d a t t h e .05 l e v e l o f s i g n i f i c a n c e . N e g a t i v e s t a t e m e n t s o f t h e p r e d i c t i o n a r e s t a t e d 11 in Appendix A. The s t a t i s t i c a l procedure used was a two-tailed test f o r correlated measures to determine s i g n i f i c a n t differences between each pair f o r six pairs of modes. The purpose of this study, then, i s to investigate, using mean T-unit length as the measure f o r analysis, the effects of mode variation on syntactic complexity in composition writing o f adult E.S.L. students at an advanced le v e l o f study. In addition, this study hopes to provide information on norms o f syntactic complexity f o r writing done in four different modes by adult E.S.L. subjects at one s p e c i f i c proficiency l e v e l . The questions to be addressed in this study are: 1) Will there be s i g n i f i c a n t differences, as measured by mean T-unit length, in the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the four discourse modes o f narration, description, exposition, and argument? 2) If there are differences in complexity, w i l l the direction o f increased complexity in the four di f f e r e n t modes be similar to that found in f i r s t language and other second language studies? This study, to an extent, replicates studies done with f i r s t language children (Perron 1976a, 1976b, 1976c; Crowhurst 1978, and 1980) and with second language high school students (Yau, 1983). However, there has been no published research on the v . effect of mode of discourse on syntactic complexity in the writing of adult E.S.L. subjects. 12 CHAPTER TWO A REVIEW OF RELATED RESEARCH There are two major areas of research in both f i r s t and second language learning which are relevant to the present study: studies examining syntactic development in the writing of children and adults and studies examining the effect of s i t u a t i o n a l factors on syntactic complexity, s p e c i f i c a l l y the effect of mode of discourse and topic. As one aspect of language development, the investigation of syntactic complexity in the writing of children and adults in both f i r s t language (e.g., La Brant, 1933; Anderson, 1937; Hunt, 1965, 1970; O'Donnell et a l , 1967) and more recently in second language (e.g., Cooper, 1976; Larsen-Freeman, 1978) has been a major area of interest in research. Since Hunt's (1965) introduction of the T-unit, the primary measure used to determine syntactic complexity has been mean number of words per T-unit (W/TU). In f i r s t language studies, research has concentrated mainly on differences in or growth of syntactic complexity in composition writing at dif f e r e n t grade levels (e.g., Braun and Klassen, 1973; Stewart, 1978) while in second language studies, similar research has compared syntactic complexity with levels of proficiency (e.g., Vann, 1978; Flahive and Snow, 1979). One of the problems affecting both the v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y of the results from previous studies has been that researchers have not controlled for s i t u a t i o n a l factors such as mode of discourse or topic, which in f i r s t language studies have been shown to affect syntactic complexity (e.g. Crowhurst, 1978). 13 In s e c o n d l a n g u a g e s t u d y , Yau (1983) d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t mode can a f f e c t s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y i n c o m p o s i t i o n w r i t i n g . A l t h o u g h i t had been r e c o g n i z e d q u i t e e a r l y t h a t s i t u a t i o n a l f a c t o r s s u c h as t h e k i n d o f w r i t i n g might a f f e c t c o m p l e x i t y ( e . g . , F r o g n e r , 1933), many r e s e a r c h e r s s i n c e t h e n have e i t h e r i g n o r e d t h a t p o s s i b i l i t y or used l a r g e samples o f mixed w r i t i n g t o compensate f o r t h o s e i p o t e n t i a l ~ e f £ e c t s . A s e c o n d p r o b l e m which may have a f f e c t e d t h e v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y o f r e s u l t s from p r e v i o u s s t u d i e s i s sample s i z e . A l t h o u g h t h e minimum s i z e r e q u i r e d f o r d e t e r m i n i n g s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y i n a w r i t i n g sample has not b e e n - e s t a b l i s h e d , g u i d e -l i n e s have been s u g g e s t e d , and based on t h o s e g u i d e l i n e s ( e . g . , C r o w h u r s t , 1978; Wynn, 1978; Yau, 1983), t h e r e s u l t s g i v e n i n some s t u d i e s must be q u e s t i o n e d as t o r e l i a b i l i t y . A. F i r s t l a n g u a g e s t u d i e s i n v e s t i g a t i n g t h e T - u n i t as an i n d e x  o f d e v e l o p m e n t R e s e a r c h e r s have l o n g known t h a t o l d e r c h i l d r e n w r i t e s e n t e n c e s which a r e more complex t h a n t h o s e w r i t t e n by younger c h i l d r e n and have s e a r c h e d f o r t h e b e s t way t o d e f i n e and d e t e r m i n e t h a t c o m p l e x i t y . One o f t h e e a r l i e r r e s e a r c h e r s i n t h i s a r e a o f i n v e s t i g a t i o n was La B r a n t (1933, C i t e d i n A n d e r s o n , 1937). She d e v i s e d and t e s t e d t h e i n d e x o f s u b o r d i n a t i o n , which i s o b t a i n e d by d i v i d i n g t h e number o f s u b o r d i n a t e p r e d i c a t e s by t h e t o t a l number o f p r e d i c a t e s . In a s t u d y e x a m i n i n g t h e c o m p o s i t i o n s o f 4 t h t o 12th g r a d e r s , she found t h a t t h e s u b o r d i n a t i o n i n d e x i n c r e a s e d w i t h b o t h m e n t a l and c h r o n o l o g i c a l age. However, as r e p o r t e d by A n d e r s o n ( 1 9 3 7 ) , t h e r e was a m e t h o d o l o g i c a l 14 shortcoming.' in that La Brant had used only one composition. Anderson suggested that different compositions might have produced di f f e r e n t r e s u l t s . Anderson (1937) studied the compositions of 111 college students ranging in age from 16 to 24 years. The compositions dealt with 'a wide variety of subjects' (p. 62). One of the measures used in the analysis was the index of subordination which was found not to correlate with any of the independent measures of age, college aptitude, English scores, or high school rank. Anderson blamed problems with interpretation of the index, inadequate length of;the sample, the p o s s i b i l i t y that indices of written language vary with the situations in which they are used and with the subject matter. The most interesting recent development in the search for a valid and r e l i a b l e measure of complexity i s the T-unit, one of the measures used by Hunt (1965) in a study of the writing of 54 school children in grades 4, 8 and 12 and the writing of s k i l l e d adults. As has been mentioned, the T-unit i s similar to a sentence except that the T-unit compensates for co-ordination and punctu- . ation. A T-unit i s one independent clause plus any subordinate clause with any non-clausal structure attached to i t . Thus the T-unit takes into account co-ordination which i s considered a low le v e l development and also takes into account faulty punctuation (See Appendix B). In the 1965 study, Hunt gathered writing samples of 1000 words from each student which for some students in the lowest grade took a year. Hunt admitted that he could have controlled for the stimulus of the writing 'to some extent' but believed that i t 15 would have affected the output of certain structures. He said that 12th graders were more accustomed to writing exposition, and so he l e f t the choice of subject matter up to the classroom teacher. The only r e s t r i c t i o n was that the subject matter of the compositions be t y p i c a l of the writing that the students usually did. Hunt found that mean T-unit length increased over the three grade levels„and beyond in the writing of his s k i l l e d adults. The conclusions of Hunt's study, that complexity increases with age or grade, have been confirmed many times over, although there has been a question as to the v a l i d i t y of the data when interpreted as norms of development because, although he had a large enough sample of writing, he did not control for the writing task across grade l e v e l s . In 1967, O'Donnell, G r i f f i n , and Norris, in a similar study, found that mean T-unit length discriminated for grades three, five and seven. They collected writing samples from 90 children, 30 from each of the three classes. As a stimulus, the children were shown a motion picture with the sound track off and after r e t e l l i n g and discussing i t , they were asked to write the story and answer some questions. The writing sample then became a combination of guided narrative from the film plus answers to questions relating to the fil m . The numbers of words written.in the two higher grades are perhaps within the range required for r e l i a b i l i t y . However, the description of the writing task leaves some doubt as to the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of the mode or even the type of writing. Blount, Johnson and Fredrick (1969), using the T-unit to analyze 1000-word samples from 32 eighth and 32 twelfth graders, 16 found s i g n i f i c a n t l y longer mean T-units for the twelfth graders. There were no controls on the topics or mode of discourse as the sample was collected from each subject over the. school year from writing done as part of the regular class assignments. "In some cases, the students were given a l i s t of possible narrative and expository topics and were allowed to choose those which appealed most to them" (p. 5). In another study, this time with subjects in grades four, six, eight, ten, and 12, one group of average and one group of s k i l l e d adults, Hunt (1970) had his subjects re-write a passage about aluminum (O'Donnell et al 1967) which had been given to them in the form of 32 very short sentences. In the study, Hunt used a sample of 50 subjects per grade, 25 average and 25 unskilled adults. S t a t i s t i c a l analysis showed complexity, as measured by words per T-unit,,to increase by grade with 1 s k i l l e d adults superior to the 12th graders. However, the average adults did not show s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher complexity over the 12th graders. The results of Hunt's study supported e a r l i e r findings on the growth of syntactic complexity. However, in the 1965 study, the W/Tll for the equivalent grades used in the 1970 study were generally much higher. Also, word counts on the rewrite passage were shorter than that now recommended for r e l i a b l e analysis even though in this instance topic was controlled. Using Dutch students and the Dutch language, Reesink et al (1971) replicated Hunt's research from 1970. Words per T-unit was one measure investigated with 244 subjects representing ten groups from 4th grade to adults. The subjects rewrote the aluminum passage plus a c h i l d fable. It was reported that, with increasing age, various syntactic measures increased, although words per T-unit was not one of those factors. Braun and Klassen (1973) investigated various indices of s y n t a c t i c - l i n g u i s t i c development among three groups of grade four and six students in Manitoba. The 48 subjects came from three di f f e r e n t l i n g u i s t i c backgrounds and were divided into three a b i l i t y levels in addition to ;their grades and backgrounds. The investigators used films to e l i c i t written language samples. There was no indication given as to the possible mode of discourse or whether a l l subjects were given the same film to write about. Neither were the number of words written reported. It was found that sixth graders and the high a b i l i t y l e v e l subjects wrote s i g n i f i c a n t l y longer T-units than the grade fours and the low a b i l i t y s u b j e c t s . Witte and Sodowsky (1978) examined the f i r s t and f i n a l essays of 24 college freshmen to find i f complexity increased over an eight month term of a writing program. There was no report as to the topic or mode of discourse of either piece of writing. The i n i t i a l essays were written as class assignments while the f i n a l essays were written as part of a two hour f i n a l examination. The mean number of words were 417 and 538 respectively. The increase in words per T-unit was s i g n i f i c a n t at the .05 l e v e l . The authors noted (p. 12) that researchers should be aware of the potential influence of mode of discourse on complexity; however, i t was not mentioned that the topic i t s e l f and the writing s i t u a t i o n , non-test and test, may have affected the significance of the increase in T-unit length. Stewart (1978) conducted a study to investigate the written 18 syntactic complexity of 302 students from grade ten through 6th year university. The writing instrument was the aluminum passage. Significant differences were found between grades ten and 11, complexity then leveled off, and there was again a s i g n i f i c a n t gain at the top university l e v e l . Stewart and Grobe (1979), as part of the New Brunswick Writing Assessment Program, looked at syntactic complexity in the compositions of students in grades fi v e , eight, and 11. The audience and purpose of the writing were dif f e r e n t for each of the three grades and the mean number of words was 123.63, 92.82, and 205.46 respectively for the three l e v e l s . Results showed a s i g n i f i c a n t difference in mean T-unit length between grade l e v e l s . These studies represent a sampling of those most often quoted. The studies reported here, and others, show that there i s no question as to the general conclusion, that complexity as measured by mean T-unit length increases with grade l e v e l and in some instances with a b i l i t y l e v e l . However, there i s some question as to the actual numbers generated to show norms at grade levels which are then compared either with Hunt's (1965) o r i g i n a l norms or with each other. As has been reported, in the majority of the studies the writing stimulus has not been controlled for either mode of discourse or topic and in some studies there have been no control for other s i t u a t i o n a l variables such as purpose, time allowed for writing or teacher expectations. For example, i t i s quite possible that writing done as a regular class assignment w i l l show diff e r e n t results from writing done in a test s i t u a t i o n . Also, in some instances word counts f e l l below that recommended for r e l i a b i l i t y when doing complexity studies. When considering 19 studies involving "rewrite" passages, i t must be remembered that the aluminum passage i s not composition, but a contextualized sentence combining exercise which to an extent controls, directs, and l i m i t s the type and number of combinations possible. B. Syntactic complexity, mode of discourse and topic It has long been recognized that the task can affect syntactic complexity in writing even though in much composition research, i t appears that investigators are unaware of that p o s s i b i l i t y . There are, of course, other potential factors which could influence complexity such as audience, purpose, or even time for writing. However, those factors were not investigated in the present study although they were controlled for. The p r i n c i p a l factor of interest in this section i s mode and secondly topic. This section contains a br i e f review of studies r e l a t i n g to mode of discourse and topic as factors which can affect syntactic complexity in written composition. Most of the studies reviewed here (e.g., San Jose, 1972; Crowhurst & Piche, 1979; Witte & Davis, 1980) relate to the effect of mode or .•.topic on complexity of syntax s p e c i f i c a l l y as measured by words per T-unit, while a few (e.g., Wiseman & Wrigley, 1958; Anderson, 1960) discuss the effect of variation in task on the assessment of quality. The two c l a s s i c e a r l i e r studies were done by Seegers and Frogner, both in 1933. Seegers conducted a study s p e c i f i c a l l y to see what effect the form of discourse used exerted on the complexity of sentence structure in written compositions of students in grade four, five and six. Papers were collected which were representative of argumentation, exposition, and narration/ description. The l a s t category was combined because the i n v e s t i -gator believed narration and description tend to merge in the writing of children. Analyzing the compositions for the r e l a t i v e use of dependent clauses, the researcher found that the form of discourse in which children wrote had a "... de f i n i t e bearing upon their sentence structure... " (p. 54). The frequency of dependent clauses was greatest in argumentation, then exposition and f i n a l l y narration/description. Seegers concluded, "... the analysis points out that one conducting a study of written composition must consider the form of discourse in which that composition i s written... " ( p . 5 4 ) . In a study of sentence structure, Frogner analyzed 2821 compositions written by 959 students from grades seven, nine, and 11. One of the observations in that study was that different kinds of writing show diff e r e n t complexity. Frogner found that expositions had a notably higher percentage of sentences with dependent clauses than did narratives, and narratives a higher percentage than did l e t t e r s , a pattern which was evident at a l l three grade l e v e l s . Anderson (1937) conducted an investigation into complexity using a variety of compositions for analysis. He reported that, "... in measuring a language product, s t i l l another factor must be „ taken into account, namely the relationship between language and the situation or circumstances in which i t i s produced or the subject matter with which i t i s concerned" (p. 65). Anderson suggested that one factor which influenced the results of his study was that compositions on various topics were used. There are several studies which note the effect of topic on the quality of compositions written. Kincaid (1953) tested whether one composition on a given topic written at one part i c u l a r time can be considered to be representative of a student's writing a b i l i t y . While he was not looking at the effect of topic on complexity s p e c i f i c a l l y , he did find that d i f f e r e n t topics did not affect the average written performance of a group of 20 students, but there were effects on individuals. For "strong" students, di s s i m i l a r topics resulted in a no greater frequency of variations in the quality of writing than did similar topics while for "weak" students, d i s s i m i l a r topics resulted in a greater frequency of variations in the quality of writing than did similar topics. Wiseman and Wrigley (1958) conducted,a study in England to determine the influence of three variables including essay t i t l e on essay marks. The variance between t i t l e s was found to be s i g n i f i c a n t , meaning that there were real differences between mean scores of diff e r e n t essays due to the subject of the essay as indicated by the t i t l e . C. C. Anderson (1960), in an investigation into the s i g n i f i -cance of diff e r e n t factors contributing to v a r i a b i l i t y in the marking of essays, found that 71?o of the papers written showed evidence of "composition fluctuation", which meant that the topic, mode, or subject matter affected the quality of the product. The following studies mostly relate to variation in complexity due to mode or topic. In some instances, studies claimed to report on mode differences and their effect on syntactic complexity. However, the claim of reporting on mode differences was not always accurate. When a single topic i s used, mode and topic become confounded and i t cannot be said which factor has affected the variation in syntactic complexity. The studies cited in this section were conducted after 1965 and, therefore, most of them used the T-unit as one method of analyzing complexity. In the reports o f the following studies, I have generally given only the results o f the words per T-unit analysis even though several measures of complexity were used in most cases. Only W/TU were reported because the thesis of this present study deals only with syntactic complexity as measured by mean words per T-unit. Johnson (1967) collected two compositions in each of narration, description, and explanation from 16 grade three pupils Average numbers o f words written per mode were 259, 121, and 150 respectively. It appears from the report that the complex sentenc was used most often in narrative followed closely by explanation and then description. It was not altogether clear exactly what the results were although an analysis o f the numbers given indicates that sentence length was greater in explanation than in narrative and greater in narrative than in description. No s t a t i s t i c s were given. Rosen (cited in Crowhurst, 1978) looked at the effect o f d i f f e r e n t writing tasks on the syntactic output of 50 f i f t e e n and sixteen year olds. Rosen designed eight different sets o f topics, each set meant to e l i c i t a dif f e r e n t kind of writing. Each subject selected and wrote on one topic from each set. It was found that mean T-unit length varied greatly from one assignment to another. For example, longer T-units were found in r e f e r e n t i a l writing than in expressive writing. The conclusion was that task differences may produce greater variation than age differences. Bortz (cited in Crowhurst, 1978) investigated the writing o f intermediate grade children. The purpose was to look for differences due to variation in composition types, s p e c i f i c a l l y description, exposition, and narration. One composition was collected in each mode from 50 subjects in each of grades four, fi v e , and s i x . Analysis showed that expository writing produced the longest T-units, narrative writing followed exposition and description produced the shortest T-units. In this study, mode was confounded with topic and, in addition, the samples of 97.53, 127.39, and 142.47 words respectively for each mode are smaller than what i s considered to be an adequate size for r e l i a b i l i t y in complexity analysis. Veal and Tillman (1971) investigated the relationship between mode of discourse and rated quality in the writing of school-children in grades two, four, and six. The test consisted of one topic in each of the four t r a d i t i o n a l modes of discourse. The results showed second and fourth graders scored s t a t i s t i c a l l y at the same l e v e l of quality regardless of mode. There was, however, a s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t difference in magnitude between second and sixth grade writing and fourth and sixth grade writing for a l l four modes. At grade two, there was no difference between modes. In the report, the results were given as follows. At grade four, the sequence was description over argument, exposition over argument, and exposition over narration. At grade six, i t was the same and, in addition, narrations were better than arguments and expositions were better than descriptions. Mode and topic were confounded in this study as there was only one topic per mode written. San Jose (1972), in a much cited study, found s i g n i f i c a n t differences in grammatical structures in four modes of writing with grade four students. A t o t a l of 40 students wrote l e t t e r s in narration, description, exposition and argument. They wrote four l e t t e r s per week per mode for four weeks in the sequence l i s t e d above. One of the 30 items analyzed . was words, per T-unit. W/TU was longest for argumentative writing followed by exposition, narration and then description. There may have been a learning factor or practice effect present, as the order of r i s i n g complexity i s similar to the order of writing. However, i t appears that students' syntax was not s p e c i f i c a l l y marked or discussed and as four weeks i s a short time in the development of syntax, the learning or practice effect may not have been great. The conclusion in the study was that di f f e r e n t variables possibly affecting syntax should be investigated before an outline of development of syntax i s established. Perron (1977) in a much-quoted study conducted with students in grades three, four and f i v e , investigated the impact of mode on written syntactic complexity. He collected samples of writing in the four t r a d i t i o n a l modes from a t o t a l of 153 students in two classes at each grade l e v e l . Each subject wrote one composition per mode with the order of writing reversed for each class. Subjects wrote twice a week for 20 minutes every second day for two weeks. The results showed greater T-unit length for argument over exposition, exposition over narration, and narration over description at a l l three grade l e v e l s . However, at grades four and f i v e , exposition and narration were not s i g n i f i c a n t l y d i f f e r e n t . The results supported those reported by San Jose (1972) and Seegers (1933) giving evidence on the impact of mode on the complexity of written syntax, even though mode and topic were confused in the study. Crowhurst & Piche (1979) reported a study examining the effects of audience and mode of discourse on the syntactic complexity of compositions written by a t o t a l of 240 students in grades six and ten. Each subject wrote on three topics in each of three modes: narration, description, and argument for each of two audiences. Topic was controlled across mode by use of a picture stimulus. The number of words written per mode ranged from 773 to 1149. At grade ten, the results showed a s i g n i f i c a n t difference for words per T-unit in three modes. The order of complexity was argument, description, narration. At grade six, results showed syntactic differences only for argument. The order of complexity was argument greater than description and description equal to narration. Moreover, grade ten arguments and descriptions were more complex than grade six arguments and descriptions, but grade ten narrations were not more complex than grade six narrations. It was quite clear that mode Is a factor which has to be considered in composition research involving complexity. Crowhurst & Piche:also' noted that topic /exerted a .signifleant effect on W/TU. They reported that, "There were a number of si g n i f i c a n t two-, three- and four-way interactions involving topic" (p. 106). But the interactions involving topic were not discussed as, "... topic was controlled by crossing i t with a l l variables, and since topic was not a variable under examination in this study... " (p. 106). Crowhurst (1980), in a study p a r t i a l l y r e p l i c a t i n g and partly extending Crowhurst (1978), examined, "... the effect of two modes of discourse, narration and argument, on the syntactic complexity of compositions written by sixth-, tenth-, and twelfth-graders" (p. 7). The f i n a l sample consisted of 80 subjects in each of the three grades who wrote three times in each mode. As in Crowhurst's e a r l i e r study (1978), topic was controlled across mode by use of a picture stimulus. The results showed that mean T-unit length was greater in argument than narration at each grade level and s i g n i f i c a n t at the .001 l e v e l . Crowhurst (1980) also discussed topic e f f e c t s . It was reported that there were, "Substantial differences ... between compositions in the same mode of discourse written by individual students. At a l l grade l e v e l s , in both modes of discourse, i t was common to find differences in mean T-unit length of eight, nine, and ten words between two compositions by the same student" (p. 11) Crowhurst warned against applying norms of syntactic development to individual students. Witte and Davis (1980) asked whether syntactic complexity i s a stable individual t r a i t within and across modes. The researchers t r i e d to answer the question by using descriptive and narrative compositions. The subjects constituted 45 first-semester college freshmen in two sections. One narrative and two descriptive samples were collected during weeks two through four of the term. Subjects had 45 minutes for each descriptive topic and one hour and 15 minutes for the narrative. Both descriptions were written on the same day while the narration was written, "... following an i n t e r v a l of three class meetings" (p. 10). The mean number of words for the descriptions was 233 and 216 while for the narrative i t was 539. Analysis of variance indicated the W/TU was not stable for individuals across .topics within the mode of description Also, W/TU was not stable for individual students across descrip-tion and narration. The authors suggested that this conclusion was tentative even though i t supported data from San Jose (1972), Perron (1977), and Crowhurst (1978, 1980). As the review of the l i t e r a t u r e shows, for many years there has been an awareness that mode and/or topic differences can affect syntactic complexity in written compositions. Mode was discussed as early as 1933, topic in 1937. Wiseman & Wrigley (1958), and Anderson (1960) found variation in written performance due to topic. Since Hunt (1965), studies have mostly used the T-unit to measure complexity variation. San Jose, Perron, Crowhurst and others have a l l found differences in syntactic complexity due to. mode of discourse. Though topic and mode were confounded in some studies, and factors which might affect r e l i a b i l i t y such as length of samples were not always taken into consideration, the evidence i s quite strong that mode and/or topic can affect syntactic complexity in written composition. Certainly there i s enough evidence to indicate that researchers conducting studies in related areas such as index of development, sentence-combining, and quality versus complexity should be cont r o l l i n g for mode and taking into account potential variation due to topic. C. Second language research using mean T-unit length as a measure  of complexity In second language studies, research has investigated the relationship between syntactic complexity and composition quality; complexity and levels of proficiency; W/TU as an index of develop-ment; W/TU as a measure to determine increases in complexity due to sentence-combining practice; and W/TU in determining the effects of modes of discourse. Research has been done with both public school students and adults studying English as a second language and English as a foreign language. English as a second language generally refers to the study of English in an English speaking environment, while English as a foreign language (.E.F.L.) generally refers to the study of English in a non-English speaking environment. Research has also been done investigating syntactic growth in languages other than English. The following section reviews studies investigating syntactic complexity, using W/TU as a measure, as a method to discriminate between levels of proficiency and as an objective measure of syntactic growth (e.g., Cooper, 1976; Larsen-Freeman and Strom, 1977; Kameen, 1981). In addition, one study i s included which investigates the relationship between syntactic complexity and mode of discourse (Yau, 1983). Most of the studies involve adult learners studying English as a second or foreign language (e.g., Perkins, 1980; Kameen, 1981) and there are several reports on the development of complexity in learning other languages (e.g., Cooper, 1976; Monroe, 1975). There are studies which analyze samples of free compositions (e.g., Flahive and Snow, 1979; Larsen-Freeman, 1978) and a group of studies which use a rewrite passage (e.g., Gaies, 1976; Sharma, 1979). The studies vary in quality as do the f i r s t language studies reviewed in the previous section. The r e l i a b i l i t y of the results and conclusions are at times questionable, but since there i s no plethora of studies in L2 learning, especially in the area of complexity in writing, most of the studies which add any information r e l a t i n g to the subject of this present study are included here. Studies involving the use of free writing Cooper (1976) reported a study done with four levels of native English speaking American college students learning German as a foreign language and one group of professional German writers. The sample included the writing from a t o t a l of 40 students, ten from each of four l e v e l s , plus writing from ten German j o u r n a l i s t s . Samples of 500 words were collected at each l e v e l including the professionals. The writing of the college students was based on a variety of subjects including themes, papers, and homework assignments. The writing of the j o u r n a l i s t s came from a r t i c l e s written in Die Zeit. It.was reported that at l e v e l one, students wrote about s i t u a t i o n a l topics and described events and objects while at the upper l e v e l s , subjects wrote cr i t i q u e s of a r t i c l e s and analyzed l i t e r a t u r e . Differences in T-unit lengths were s i g n i f i c a n t between the f i r s t and third levels and between the second and fourth levels and for professional writers above the. highest college l e v e l . The results for the college writers may have been confounded by the lack of control of the subject matter in the writing samples. Larsen-Freeman and Strom (1977), in a p i l o t project, investigated the potential of the T-unit as the basis for an index of development in E.S.L. writing. Compositions were collected from 48 undergraduate and graduate non-native speakers at UCLA. The compositions had been written as part of the placement examination. There was no information given on modes or topics. Thirty seven of 48 subjects had been instructed to write 200 words while others, presumably a group showing less proficiency, were required to do l e s s . The compositions were h o l i s t i c a l l y evaluated and assigned to five levels of proficiency. The average number of words per composition for the five levels from poor to excellent were 132.53, 150 . 55 , 177.33, 218.91 , and 228.00 respectively. An analysis of variance showed mean T-unit length was not s i g n i f i c a n t in discriminating for the five levels although there was a general trend to longer T-units as the levels went up. It was suggested that the high standard deviations and the d i f f i c u l t y in counting T-units in lower groups affected the significance of the res u l t s . The counting of mean number of words per error-free T-unit proved s i g n i f i c a n t for d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g between the five l e v e l s . However, considering that the c r i t e r i o n for an error-free T-unit was perfection in a l l aspects, one must wonder about the size of the sample after the flawed T-units had been removed. Larsen-Freeman (1978) followed the p i l o t study of Larsen-Freeman and Strom (1977) with an examination of 212 compositions written as part of the E.S.L. placement test at UCLA. Subjects had 30 minutes to write on a single expository topic. They were instructed to write 200 words. The subjects were placed in five groups based on the overall results of the entrance examination. The lowest group would require "a great deal" of E.S.L. instruction before entering regular classes and the highest had E.S.L. requirements waived. The mean composition lengths for the five groups were 146.10, 185.66, 186.51, 232.76, and 213.20 words respectively. For mean T-unit length, there were s i g n i f i c a n t differences among the five groups; however, i t did not discriminate well among the top three groups, which were closely clustered. In addition, differences for mean error-free T-units were s i g n i f i -cant for a l l five l e v e l s . Vann (1978) conducted a study involving 28 adult Saudi E.S.L. subjects. The subjects were enrolled on post-graduate courses as well as E.S.L. courses. The task to e l i c i t the sample involved an oral and written response to a s i l e n t film. For the written response, the subjects had 20 minutes to write a composition t e l l i n g what happened and giving their opinion of the film. The 31 written compositions were then assessed and grouped into three levels of proficiency. The mean number of words written was 214.80. Of several factors tested, the mean length of error-free T-units had the best correlation with TOEFL scores. Also, mean T-unit length discriminated between high and low grouped composi-tions at a s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t l e v e l . The implication was that error plus complexity are strong c r i t e r i a in evaluating proficiency in E.S.L. writing. Flahive and Snow (1979).analyzed 300 compositions written by students from six levels of E.S.L. The purpose was to determine how accurately objective measures could discriminate among the six l e v e l s . Students were given 50 minutes to write one expository composition from a l i s t of s e v e r a l ! o p i c s . The results showed T-unit length increasing over the six levels though there was l i t t l e difference between groups four and f i v e . When the six groups were collapsed to three for s t a t i s t i c a l analysis, T-unit length was found to discriminate for the reduced, three group array. It was concluded that, "... the sentences of ESL students grow in complexity in ways similar to the sentences of native speakers" (p.175). Perkins (1980) conducted a study with University adult E.S.L. subjects. He analyzed 29 f i n a l examination compositions from the most advanced E.S.L. course offered. Subjects had 50 minutes to write and a choice of three topics. The choices appeared to contain one descriptive and two expository topics. The composi-: tions were analyzed using various objective measures including T-unit length. As one part of the study, the subjects wrote the Test of Standard Written English which i s a grammar recognition test. It was found that mean T-unit length did not correlate 32 s i g n i f i c a n t l y with the TSWE. Kameen (1981) reported on a study involving 47 intermediate level intensive E.S.L. students at the University of L o u i s v i l l e . Subjects wrote one composition, given a choice of four topics and 60 minutes to write. Subjects also did the "aluminum" rewrite and the Michigan Test. The composition.grades were assigned based on an analytic scale. Kameen counted both words per T-unit and error-free words per T-unit. It was found that the words per T-unit index for the aluminum rewrite correlated at the .01 level with overall scores on the Michigan Test and with composition grades. Also, mean T-unit length correlated better than did error-free T-units. Kameen had had to explain 12 vocabulary items in the aluminum rewrite which may have affected the res u l t s . Also, again there i s the potential problem of a small number of words in the composition sample once flawed T-units are removed. The mean number of words written in the composition portion of the study were not reported. Also, i t was not reported whether there was also a s i g n i f i c a n t correlation between error-free T-units and the Michigan Test and composition scores. Studies involving the use of rewrite passages Monroe (1975) conducted a study involving four levels of native English speakers studying French as a foreign language plus one group of native French speakers. In t o t a l , there were 110 subjects p a r t i c i p a t i n g . The subjects did a rewrite passage though not the aluminum rewrite. Six objective factors were looked at including mean words per T-unit. Mean differences, although they had an upward trend for each group, were only s i g n i f i c a n t for non-adjacent groups except for the.native speakers, who showed a s i g n i f i c a n t difference over the next lower group. Gaies (1976) conducted a study to see i f the aluminum passage could be used to measure the syntactic development of E.S.L. students. The aluminum rewrite was given to 20 intensive E.S.L. subjects and five highly p r o f i c i e n t non-native speakers doing graduate work, and 16 native speakers who were also graduate students. The mean T-unit length of the 16 native speakers was higher than that of the fi v e highly p r o f i c i e n t non-natives and the l a t t e r were higher than the 20 intensive E.S.L. subjects. There were low correlations between the W/TU and the English structure section of the TOEFL. Also, Gaies found a wide range of performance among the 20 intensive E.S.L. subjects. Jovkovic (1977) investigated the development of syntactic complexity in the English writing of Yugoslav students studying E.F.L. and, in addition, looked at the development of syntactic complexity in Serbo-Croatian and compared i t to the syntactic development of native English speakers at the same l e v e l s . A rewrite passage was the writing instrument and mean T-unit length one of the indices of development. Subjects from the f i f t h grade through the l a s t year of college were used in this study. The results showed s i g n i f i c a n t increases at .001 probability across levels for a l l three language groups tested. Words per T-unit was the best of the five indices used. Jovkovic noted that the s i m i l a r i t y was almost i d e n t i c a l between Yugoslav speakers of English and English native speakers. Jovkovic suggested that there was a direct transfer of embedding a b i l i t y from f i r s t to second language. Sharma (1979) had 60 Canadian E.S.L. college students write the aluminum passage. The 60 students were i d e n t i f i e d as low and high intermediate and advanced levels according to/the Michigan 34 Test and from composition scores. The rewrite was analyzed for several factors including W/TU and words per error-free T-unit. It was reported that error-free T-units and words per error-free T-unit seemed to be the most productive.in separating the three proficiency l e v e l s . Tests of significance showed differences at the .01 l e v e l for words per error-free T-unit for low intermediate and advanced l e v e l s . The f i n a l study reported in this section i s that of Lewis Pike (cited in Kameen, 1981). Pike tested the writing of 243 Spanish and 199 Japanese speakers. His subjects wrote, in English, four 10-minute compositions on assigned topics and did the aluminum rewrite passage. He found very low correlations between grades assigned to the free writing samples and mean words per T-unit in the aluminum rewrite, suggesting that the rewrite passage may not be a r e l i a b l e objective test instrument to assess composing a b i l i t y . One study investigating the effect of mode of discourse Yau (1983) investigated syntactic complexity in the writing of Chinese secondary school students learning English in Hong Kong. Yau analyzed compositions written by students at three grade lev e l s , roughly the equivalent of grades nine, 11, and 13. Twenty students at each l e v e l wrote one composition in the narrative and one composition in the expository mode. It was reported that students averaged approximately 200 words per mode with the majority writing between 180 and 250 words per composi-tio n . One part of the study was to look for s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r -ences in W/TU across the three grade levels and between the two modes of writing. Analysis showed a s i g n i f i c a n t difference in mean T-unit length across the grades for the two modes combined. There was a l s o a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between t h e two modes o f w r i t i n g w i t h i n each g r a d e l e v e l . However, f o r each mode s e p a r a t e l y t h e r e was a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e between g r a d e s n i n e and 13 and 11 and 13, but not between g r a d e s n i n e and 11. The r e s u l t s s u p p o r t f i n d i n g s o f f i r s t l a n g u a g e s t u d i e s w hich show a mode e f f e c t on s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y as measured by W/TU and a l s o show the p r o b l e m o f u s i n g samples o f w r i t i n g which a r e not d i f f e r e n t i a t e d by mode. The r e s u l t s o f t h i s s t u d y showed a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e i n s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y a c r o s s t h r e e g r a d e l e v e l s f o r modes combined, but when c o m p l e x i t y was a n a l y z e d f o r modes s e p a r a t e l y , t h e r e was no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e f o r t h e two l o w e s t l e v e l s i n e i t h e r mode. As t h e r e s e a r c h i n t h i s s e c t i o n has shown, s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y as measured by mean words per T - u n i t , has been a major a r e a o f i n t e r e s t i n s e c o n d l a n g u a g e d e v e l o p m e n t . The main f o c u s o f i n v e s t i g a t i o n has been t o d e t e r m i n e whether W/TU d i f f e r e n t i a t e among l e v e l s o f p r o f i c i e n c y and whether i t has v a l u e as an o b j e c t i v e measure o f s y n t a c t i c d e v e l o p m e n t i n t h e w r i t i n g o f s e c o n d l a n g u a g e . s t u d e n t s . One a s p e c t o f t h i s r e s e a r c h i s t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f e s t a b l i s h i n g an i n d e x o f d e v e l o p m e n t o f c o m p l e x i t y The p r o b l e m s a f f e c t i n g t h e r e l i a b i l i t y o f some o f t h e s t u d i e s c i t e d a r e t h a t t h e y d i d not a l w a y s c o n t r o l f o r s i t u a t i o n a l f a c t o r s such as mode o f d i s c o u r s e a n d/or t o p i c and d i d not a l w a y s e n s u r e l a r g e enough word samples f o r r e l i a b l e a n a l y s e s o f mean words per T - u n i t . As o f 1983, o n l y one s t u d y had been done a n a l y z i n g t h e e f f e c t o f mode on s y n t a c t i c c o m p l e x i t y . The r e s u l t o f t h a t s t u d y d i d show a p o s i t i v e r e s u l t f o r two modes o f d i s - ".. c o u r s e . However, more r e s e a r c h i s o b v i o u s l y n e c e s s a r y 1) t o c o n f i r m Yau's r e s u l t s 2). t o f i n d t h e e f f e c t s of/the.-: two •modes;, not 36 tested in Yau's study and 3) to determine the effects of mode on other language groups at different levels of proficiency. When that i s done, i t w i l l be much easier to evaluate previous research involving syntactic complexity in written composition. D. Minimum sample size For a mixed sample o f writing, Crowhurst (1978) reviewed several studies which researched syntactic complexity in the writing of f i r s t language students. Based on Hunt & O'Donnell (1970), Perron (1974), Blount, Fredrick and Johnson (1969), and others, she concluded that: On the basis o f available evidence, i t seems that writing samples o f something over 400 words should be used in order for mean T-unit length to be a r e l i a b l e measure of syntactic complexity in writing corpora composed of writing in various modes. No investigation has been made o f words needed for r e l i a b i l i t y in corpora composed of a single mode o f discourse, or o f differences which may exist among various modes in this respect. (p. 21) Yau (1983), in her study of syntactic complexity in composi-tions written by Chinese speaking second language learners, used samples averaging 200 words per composition for comparing modes and samples averaging 400 words o f mixed writing for comparing syntactic complexity at dif f e r e n t grade l e v e l s . Yau reviewed 0'Hare (1973), O'Donnell et a l (1967), and Combs (1976), who used samples averaging 400 words, 200 to 500 words, and 300 words respectively. Yau also noted that Hunt (1970), Monroe (1975), and Stewart (1978) used sample sizes of less than 200 words inl-their analyses of "rewrite" passages. She also stated that, "... smaller sample sizes have been used by researchers and considered to be adequate." (p. 12). Whereas Yau didn't make a statement as to what she considered the minimum sample size should be,.she implied that the sample size she used, an average of 200 words for mode comparisons, was adequate. Wynn (1977) actually conducted a study to determine the minimum sample size required to obtain a r e l i a b l e estimate of a student's a b i l i t y in the use of syntax when using mean T-unit length as a measure. Compositions were collected from 29 seventh-30 tenth- and ' 12th-graders, and from 30 upperclassmen. As one measure analyzed, the mean number of words per T-unit was computed for each grade and for a l l grades combined. The mean number of words per T-unit for the seventh grade was correlated with the mean number of words of the f i r s t T-units of a l l the seventh grade compositions. The mean number of words per T-unit for the seventh grade was next correlated with the mean of two means: the mean number of words for the f i r s t and second T-units from a l l seventh grade compositions. The mean of three means was used for a third c o r r e l a t i o n . The correlation procedure was repeated to encompass ever-increasing sample sizes from the grade's compositions. ... The correlation procedure was applied in the same manner ... to grades seven, ten, twelve, and to the college students as' well as a combination of the four grades, (p. x) It was found that samples of 20 T-units or 20 sentences correlated in the .80's and ,90's with the mean of the whole. It was concluded that for r e l i a b i l i t y in determining mean T-unit measures a minimum of 20 T-units or 20 sentences was required. By looking at words per T-unit found in different modes at dif f e r e n t grades in other complexity studies, the c r i t e r i o n l e v e l of approximately 20 T-units would translate into from 200 to 300 words depending on the mode of the composition and the grade l e v e l . In studies investigating the relationship between syntactic complexity and mode of discourse in written composition, the following sample sizes have been used: 1) Johnson (1967) with two compositions per mode had samples averaging 259, 121, and 150 words; 2) Bortz (1969) used an average of 97.53, 127.39, and 142.47 words respectively for description, narration, and exposition. 3) In San Jose's (1972) study, the average number of words for narration, description, exposition, and argument were 441, 361, 309, and 303 words respectively; 4) Perron (1976a,b,.c) used an average of 75 words per mode in grade 3, 118 words in grade 4, and 157 words in grade 5 for his analysis in comparing modes; 5) Witte & Davis (1980) had sample sizes averaging 233 and 216 words for two descriptions and 539 words for a narrative sample. 6) Crowhurst's.(1978) sample size, based on three topics per mode, ranged from 773 to 1149 words. In E.S.L. research using mean T-unit length as a measure of complexity in composition writing, the following sample sizes have been used: 1) Cooper (1976) used an average of 500 words for a mixed sample of writing; 2) Larsen-Freeman and Strom (1977) based results on an average number of words per composition of from 132 to 228 over five levels of proficiency; 3) Larsen-Freeman (1978) used mean composition lengths of from 146 to 213 words respectively for five levels of proficiency; 4) Van (1978) based results on a mean number of words of 214. As was mentioned in Chapter One, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to say with any certainty what the minimum sample size should be for comparing syntactic complexity between modes in compositions,written by 39 E.S.L. students. However, based on the available evidence, a 'safe' figure might be a minimum of 200 words. E. Summary of previous research The T-unit has been established as a -reliable t o o l . f o r measuring syntactic complexity in the writing of students learning English as a f i r s t language. Various studies have shown mean words per T-unit,to be a r e l i a b l e measure to discriminate between groups of students by age or grade (e.g., Hunt, 1965; Blount et a l , 1969; Stewart, 1978). The use of the T-unit measure to establish an index of development of complexity for in d i v i d u a l students has been shown to be premature as research into the effects of s i t u a t i o n a l factors such as mode of discourse and topic have indicated that the writing task can affect syntactic complexity as does the grade l e v e l or age-of "the student (e.g., San Jose, 1972; Crowhurst, 1978, 1980). Existing research, here, s p e c i f i c a l l y research on mode, has indicated .that more research and research with better controls w i l l have to be done before W/TU can be used as an index of development of syntactic complexity in writing. While empirical research -in second language acquisition i s in i t s early stages of development, the methodology and the f i e l d s of inquiry necessarily overlap f i r s t language research since both are concerned with the same aspect of language proficiency. Second language study appears to have adopted the T-unit as a standard measure of syntactic complexity in composition studies. In the research reviewed here, studies have been carried out to answer the same questions, as have been asked i n . f i r s t language development: .1) do W/TU d i f f e r e n t i a t e between levels of proficiency among L2 students as they do for grade and age among L1 students and are W/TU then a r e l i a b l e objective measure of language proficiency in writing; 2) i s there evidence for the use of mean words per T-unit as an index of development in the writing of second language students; 3) can mode of discourse affect syntactic complexity as i t has been shown to do in L1 studies. Although the results are somewhat mixed, the evidence indicates that for L2 students, W/TU does d i f f e r e n t i a t e among proficiency levels (e.g., Larsen-Freeman, 1978; Flahive and Snow, 1979; Kameen, 1981) and.that mode.of discourse may effect complexity (Yau, 1983). In the L2 research reviewed, the problems which could have affected the r e l i a b i l i t y of results are the same as those which could have affected the r e l i a b i l i t y of L1 r e s u l t s . Some L2 studies (e.g., Cooper, 1976; Perkins, 1980) did not control for mode while some controlled for mode but not topic (e.g., Flahive and Snow, 1979; Perkins, 1980). In some instances, word counts necessary for r e l i a b i l i t y in analyzing pieces of writing for complexity were smaller than recommended (e.g., Larsen-Freeman and Strom, 1977; Kameen, 1981).. Whereas second language studies, with their f a u l t s , indicate that L2 students progress in their development of syntactic complexity in writing as do L1 students, only one study has been done investigating the effect of mode of discourse. This present study, then, attempts to add information on the question of whether mode of discourse can affect syntactic complexity in the written compositions of adult E.S.L. learners. CHAPTER THREE DESIGN AND PROCEDURES A. S u b j e c t s The s u b j e c t s f o r t h i s s t u d y came from e i g h t c l a s s e s o f A d v a n c e d l e v e l i n t e n s i v e E.S.L. s t u d e n t s a t K i n g Edward Campus (K.E.C.) o f V a n c o u v e r Community C o l l e g e . The e i g h t c l a s s e s i n c l u d e d a p p r o x i m a t e l y 160 s t u d e n t s . T h e r e was a s l i g h t l y h i g h e r p r o p o r t i o n o f women. The a g e s o f t h e s t u d e n t s v a r i e d f r o m 18 t o 70 y e a r s w i t h t h e m a j o r i t y b e i n g between 20 and 35. T h e r e were more t h a n 20 p r i m a r y l a n g u a g e g r o u p s r e p r e s e n t e d i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n . The main l a n g u a g e g r o u p was C h i n e s e w i t h C a n t o n e s e t h e p r e d o m i n a n t d i a l e c t . A p p r o x i m a t e l y h a l f o f t h e s t u d e n t s were C h i n e s e s p e a k e r s f r o m Hong Kong, C a n t o n p r o v i n c e i n C h i n a , o r V i e t n a m . The E.S.L. s t u d e n t s a t K.E.C. had a v a r i e t y o f e d u c a t i o n a l b a c k g r o u n d s f r o m grade, s i x i n v i l l a g e s c h o o l s t o . Ph.D. 's from r e c o g n i z e d u n i v e r s i t i e s . The l a r g e m a j o r i t y had a h i g h s c h o o l e d u c a t i o n o f some t y p e w i t h p e r h a p s some t e c h n i c a l t r a i n i n g . S t u d e n t s were r e f u g e e s , l a n d e d i m m i g r a n t s , o r C a n a d i a n c i t i z e n s . M ost s t u d e n t s had s t u d i e d i n t h e p r o g r a m f r o m f o u r months t o one and a h a l f y e a r s . The A d v a n c e d l e v e l o f E n g l i s h l a n g u a g e t r a i n i n g a t K.E.C. i s t h e t h i r d l e v e l o f a p o t e n t i a l s i x l e v e l s o f s t u d y t a k i n g s t u d e n t s from z e r o E n g l i s h t o g r a d e 12 e q u i v a l e n c y . The s t u d e n t s i n t h e A d v a n c e d l e v e l come fr o m t h e p r e v i o u s l e v e l ( I n t e r m e d i a t e ) , a r e c o n t i n u i n g a t t h e l e v e l , o r come fr o m o u t s i d e t h e i n s t i t u t i o n . S t u d e n t s a r e t e s t e d b e f o r e e n t e r i n g t h e l e v e l a n d , t h e r e f o r e , f o r m a r e l a t i v e l y homogeneous group. However, the only standardized "outside" tests used are the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests (1979) Students are required to have a grade equivalent reading l e v e l of 4.0 on the form D of the test for entry to the Advanced le v e l and a grade equivalent reading l e v e l of 7+ on the form E of the test, in part, as successful completion of the l e v e l . The Advanced l e v e l program gives students practice in the four s k i l l areas of reading, writing, l i s t e n i n g , and speaking, plus sentence structure study. Instructors use a variety of methods and resource materials b u i l t around a core program. The Advanced level was chosen for this study for several reasons. It i s at this l e v e l that students begin to participate regularly in composition writing. Students at t h i s . l e v e l can be expected to produce approximately 200 words per composition on the average and, in addition, the Advanced l e v e l had week'ly'-composition writing, usually on the same day, as a regular part of the program. That f i t in with the design of the study and conversely the study would not inte r f e r e to any great extent with the class work of the students. The students at the Advanced le v e l would l i k e l y write on a variety of topics in di f f e r e n t modes in any case and, therefore, i t could not be seen that the students would be "harmed" in any way. It was decided to start with a l l classes because i t was believed that the a t t r i t i o n rate would be high. Work, sickness, family r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , and class changes would result in a large number of students missing classes over the eight week period involved.and, as a consequence, being taken out of the study. The 61 subjects whose papers w.ere analyzed for this study represented 12 primary language groups. There were 34 Chinese speakers which included one Mandarin and one Hakka speaker and 27 ''others" (Appendix C). The sample was representative of the general E.S.L. population in that s t a t i s t i c a l data from K.E.C. has indicated that approximately 6Q% of the E.S.L. students are Chinese speakers with Vietnamese and Punjabi following. The remainder include a large variety of languages similar to the sample used in this study. The subjects included were 32 females and 22 males. .. (Biographical information was..not;completerfor a l l 61 subjects). The mean length of time in English speaking Canada was 41 months. Thirty of 52 subjects had been at K.E.C. for one year or less. The mean age was almost 30 years with the lowest being 19 and the highest 60. The mean number of years of education was 11.87, the lowest being six and the highest 18. The mean reading mark, upon entry to the l e v e l , as determined by standardized testing was a grade equivalent of 5.12 as measured by Gates-MacGinitie.reading tests (1979). The information i s summarized in Appendix D. B. Assignments and materials For this study, compositions were written on eight d i f f e r e n t topics. There were two topics in each of four modes. The following d e f i n i t i o n s of mode were used by Perron (1977, p.8) and are used as c r i t e r i a in the present study. Argumentation: In using language that--in the main--argues a point of view, defends a position, expresses an emotional i n c l i n a t i o n , or t r i e s to persuade, the writer i s considered to be writing in the mode of argumentation. Exposition: In using language that--in the main--explains a procedure or an experience (in a r e s t r i c t e d framework), the writer i s considered to be writing in the mode of exposition. Narration: In using language that--in the main--tells a sequence of events, observances or experiences, the writer i s considered to be writing in the mode of narration. Description: In using language that--in the main--depicts people, places, things, and/or events in d e t a i l , the writer i s considered to be writing in the mode of description. Two topics.were chosen for each mode in an attempt to reduce a possible topic effect and to ensure a large enough sample in each mode for r e l i a b i l i t y when computing mean T-unit length. In this study, the lowest mean number of words per topic was 193.50 while the lowest mean number of words per mode was 389.58. Means for words and T-units are summarized by topic and mode in Chapter Four. The topics chosen, along with the standardized instructions to the students, were discussed and agreed upon by the instructors involved and then typed on ditt o masters. An example of a student assignment i s given in Appendix E. Also, a l i s t of standardized instructions for the administration of the assignments was discussed by the instructors involved and then typed on ditt o masters (Appendix F). The topics were chosen to permit as many students as possible to write with a minimum of preparation, and so that the written product would be in the desired mode. The topics were selected from suggestions contributed by p a r t i c i p a t i n g instructors, from topics used in a p i l o t study two terms e a r l i e r , and from topics which the investigator had successfully used in teaching other classes. Participating instructors were then given a l i s t of possible topics and asked to reject any topics found unacceptable for any reason. (The instructors knew the study was to look at differences between topics but they did not know what differences.) The investigator then made the f i n a l selection from those topics deemed acceptable. A f i l e folder containing a dittoed assignment, a copy of the instructions to the instructor, and foolscap was prepared for each of the eight .topics and the eight different classes involved in the study. C. Procedures The study consisted of the administration of eight different composition topics (Appendix G), two in each of four modes, to eight d i f f e r e n t classes (Appendix H) over an eight week period. The topics were assigned to classes in random order (Appendix I) from a l i s t of random d i g i t s (Glass and Stanley, 1979, p. 512) so that each class of subjects wrote once on each topic over the eight week period of the study. If students missed writing sessions, changed classes or withdrew from the program, they were taken out of the study, though they continued to participate in composition writing. Although on any one writing day, there would be 130 to 140 students in attendance, the absence of different students on different days plus class changes and withdrawals resulted in 63 diff e r e n t subjects having completed a l l eight composition assign-46 ments. A further two subjects had handwriting that was indecipher-able and so were also taken out of the study, thus leaving 61 subjects. Compositions from each class in each topic were combined to give 61 papers on each topic, 122 papers in each mode and a tot a l of 488 papers. The p a r t i c i p a t i n g instructors were told that the topics had been assigned to class in random order and that a folder containing dittoed copies of the assignment, foolscap, and the instructions to the teacher would be given to them prior to composition day. The night classes wrote on Thursdays which was their l a s t day of classes before the weekend and the day classes wrote on Fridays which was their l a s t day of classes before the weekend. The random order of assignment of compositions to class and the d i s t r i b u t i o n of topics just prior to the composition class prevented any inadvertant preparation of students for the assignment. In addition, as has been stated previously, the students were not told they were par t i c i p a t i n g in a study and as a l l students knew they wrote a formal composition once a week, there was no reason for them to not produce as natural a sample as possible under classroom conditions. The completed compositions were collected immediately following the writing session, xeroxed, and the o r i g i n a l s returned to the instructors to be corrected and returned to the students. This procedure was followed for the eight weeks of the study. The xeroxed, copied compositions were kept separate by class in f i l e folders which were noted for class, time, and.topic. Scoring After a l l the compositions had been collected and xeroxed, i t was determined from class registeres which subjects had written a l l eight compositions at the assigned times in their assigned classes. Each composition was then typed as written. Each subject was i d e n t i f i e d by student re g i s t r a t i o n number and the number was used to code each composition. Each composition was further coded for mode, topic, class and session. The o r i g i n a l typed copies were then xeroxed for T-unit analysis. A l l scoring was done by the experimenter. Words were counted, T-units marked and counted, and mean T-unit length determined for each paper. Mean T-unit length was determined by d i v i d i h g , t h e : 161 a 1.. n u m b e r. • o f wo rds counted by t h e t ait a 1 n u m be E ,.- o f f T-units. A t o t a l of 488 compositions were analyzed. An example of a scored paper i s shown in Appendix B. Words were counted partly in accordance with rules generated in f i r s t language studies (Crowhurst, 1978; O'Hare, 1973; Mellon, 1969; and O'Donnell, Griffen & Norris, 1967) and partly from discussion with colleagues experienced in teaching E.S.L. composition writing. A l i s t of word count rules i s shown in Appendix J. Segmentation rules for T-units were s i m i l a r l y a combination of rules used in the above cited studies and rules which had to be created to take into consideration the many diverse structures which presented themselves in the compositions produced. The segmentation rules for T-units are shown in Appendix K. Word counts (Appendix L) and T-unit counts (Appendix M) were independently checked. Four subjects were chosen at random by one checker and the eight compositions from each subject for a t o t a l of 32 papers were analyzed according to the given segmentation rules for T-units. Where disagreements occurred, discussion took place in an e f f o r t to resolve the problem. Usually, disagreement was due to miscounting or neglecting to mark the end of a T-unit. If a disagreement could not be resolved, the checker's count was not changed. A Pearson's Product Moment correlation between the experimenter's and checker's T-unit counts for the 32 papers was .998. A second independent: checker counted words on the same 32 compositions. The words were counted using the segmentation rules for word counts. A similar process was followed for disagreements in word counts. If a disagreement could not be resolved, the checker's count was not changed and the experimenter's o r i g i n a l count, of course, was never changed. A Pearson's Product Moment correlation between the experimenter's and second checker's word counts was .98 3. D. Analysis of the data 1. Pearson product-moment correlations were used to establish the r e l i a b i l i t y of the experimenter's scoring of word counts and T-unit counts. Independent scores of the check-coders were compared with corresponding scores given by the experimenter. 2. The data on mode yielded scores on one dependent measure, mean T-unit length. To determine s i g n i f i c a n t differences between means for the four modes, six paired comparisons were made using the t-test for a dependent sample (Glass & Stanley, 1970 sec. 14.4). Results were tested for significance at the .05 l e v e l . The program used was S t a t i s t i c a l Package For the Socia Sciences ( L a i , June 1983) which was run at the U n i v e r s i t y B r i t i s h Columbia. 50 CHAPTER FOUR ANALYSIS AND RESULTS The p r i n c i p a l focus of this study was to determine i f adult E.S.L. students would vary their use of syntactic complexity in composition writing in response to change in mode of discourse. To determine i f there were s i g n i f i c a n t differences in syntactic complexity between modes, 61 adult E.S.L. students each wrote two compositions in each of four separate modes. The compositions were collected and analyzed using mean T-unit length as the measure of complexity. Two compositions were written in each mode in an attempt to reduce a possible topic effect and to ensure a s u f f i c i e n t minimum number of words for r e l i a b i l i t y when using mean words per T-unit (W/TU) as a measure of syntactic complexity. Although the minimum number of words required for r e l i a b i l i t y in a single mode has not been s t a t i s t i c a l l y determined, i t appeared that sample sizes and recommendations from previous research indicated a minimum of 200 words per mode was desirable (Chapter Two). Students in this study wrote from a mean of 389 words in argument to a mean of 515 words in narration. The mean number of words, mean number of T-units, and minimums and maximums per topic are given in Table. 1. The mean number of words, mean number of T-units, and minimums and maximums per mode are given in Table 2. Table 1 : Mean Numbers of Words and T-units by Topic Written by Advanced Level Students Included in the Present Study N = 61. Topic Mean S.D. Min. Max. 1 Trip » Words 279.98 115.22 141 678 T-units 24.73 10.29 11 60 1 Story ' Words 235.91 49.70 149 400 T-units 20 . 63 6.54 10 38 1 House 1 Words 217.31 73.14 100 641 T-units 20.55 8 .93 9 75 'Person 1 Words T-units 225.59 19.45 64.04 120 522 6.87 9 41 'Racism* Words 199.00 80.72 109 603 T-units 15.67 6.38 5 39 'Citizen' Words T-units 198.86 14.08 57.29 100 428 4.87 6 31 'Arranged' Words T-units 196.08 15.45 53.97 5.68 76 357 7 38 'Mixed' Words T-units 193.50 15.75 55 .76 4.86 92 395 6 30 Table'2: Mean Numbers of Words and T-units by Mode. N = 61 Mode Mean Minimum Maximum Narration Words T-units 515. 45. 89 36 290 21 1078 98 Description Words T-units 442. 40. 90 00 220 18 1163 116 Exposition Words T-units 397. 29. 86 75 209 11 1031 70 Argument Words T-units 389. 31 . 58 20 168 13 752 68 A. Mode differences The f i r s t analysis was to determine mean number of words per T-unit by mode. Means and standard deviations by mode are shown in Table 3. Table 3: Mean T-unit Length and Standard Deviations for Compositions by Mode of Discourse. Mode N W/TU S.D. Narration 122 11.823 2.069 Description 122 11.508. 1.771 Exposition 122 13.932 2.487 Argument 122 12.972 2.541 There i s very l i t t l e difference in the raw scores for narration and description. However, the results for exposition show one f u l l word per T-unit over argument and a f u l l two words per T-unit over either description or narration, while argument shows one f u l l word per T-unit over description and narration. Significance of mode differences To find i f there were s i g n i f i c a n t differences between means for the four modes, they were tested in pairs. The four modes gave six pairs, N-D, N-E, N-A, D-E, D-A, and E-A. The six pairs were tested using a t-test for dependent measures. The mean differences, standard deviations, t-values and p r o b a b i l i t i e s are given in Table 5. The complete results from the t-test are provided by the SPSS, version H, Computer Reference Program (Appendix N). 53 Table 4: Mean Differences between Modes of Discourse, Standard Deviations, Corresponding t-values and P r o b a b i l i t i e s . Degrees of Freedom=60 Mode Mean Difference S.D. t-value Probability N-D 0.314 1.566 1.57 0.122(N.S.) N-E -2.109 2.323 -7.09 0.000 N-A -1.152 2.696 -3.34 0.001 D-E -2.424 2.375 -7.97 0.000 D-A -1.467 2.615 -4.38 0.000 E-A 0.957 2.183 3.42 0.001 N=Narration, D=Description, E=Exposition, A=Argument N.S.=Not Si g n i f i c a n t at .05 The results obtained for differences in W/TU between the six pairs of modes cause the null hypotheses, which postulated no difference between modes, to be accepted for Ho 1 but are rejected for HO 2,3,4,5, and 6. In other words, there was no s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the modes of narration and description, but there were s i g n i f i c a n t differences between narration/exposition, narration/argument, description/exposition, description/argument, and exposition/argument. The rejection of Ho 2,3,4,5, and 6 and the acceptance-of Ho 1, showing s i g n i f i c a n t differences between five of six pairs of means, supports previous results in L1 and L2 research. The exceptions are Perron's (1977) grade four's and five's where no s i g n i f i c a n t differences were found for narrations and expositions; Crowhurst's (1978) grade ten's where there was a.s i g n i f i c a n t difference .-'found, for narration and description; and San Jose's (1972) grade four's where there, was a s i g n i f i c a n t difference between narration and description. The finding of no s i g n i f i c a n t difference between the modes of narration and description supports results found in Rosen's (1969) study and results found in Crowhurst's (1978) study for her grade s i x ' s . B. Comparison of direction of complexity with previous f i r s t and  second language studies. The results of analyses determining means (Table 3) and s i g n i f i c a n t differences between means (Table 4) indicate a direction of increasing complexity in modes. The d i r e c t i o n shown i s description not d i f f e r e n t than narration, argument showing greater syntactic complexity than either description or narration,, and exposition showing greater syntactic complexity than argument, description, or narration. This can be written as D=N< A< E. The direction of increasing complexity for mode i s similar to other L1 and L2 studies in that, in the majority of those studies, either exposition or argument showed greater syntactic complexity than either description or narration. Yau (1983) found Chinese speaking E.F.L. students at 3 levels wrote compositions in exposition which were s y n t a c t i c a l l y more complex than those written in narration. Crowhurst (1980) found argument to show greater '-complexity than narration for three grade levels of L1 students. Crowhurst (1978) found argument to be greater than either description or narration with L1 students at two grade l e v e l s . Perron (1977) found argument to be greater than narration at two grade levels and both argument and exposition to be greater than either narration or description at one grade le v e l ' o f L1 students. San Jose (1972) found that her L1 grade four's wrote more complex arguments and expositions than narrations or descriptions. Bortz (1969) found that l_1 grade four's, f i v e ' s , and six's wrote expositions which were more complex than either narrations or descriptions. The results of this present study, indicating A< E and D=N, support some studies but not others, as mixed results have been shown. As examples: Perron's (1977) grade five's wrote more complex narratives than descriptions while Crowhurst's (1978) grade six's showed no s i g n i f i c a n t difference; Bortz's grade four's f i v e ' s , and six ' s , a l l wrote more complex narratives than descriptions; and San Jose's (1972) grade four's wrote more complex arguments than expositions. The results of the present study in comparison with other L1 and L2 studies are summarized in Table 5. Study Language Grade Mode Direction Present Study L2 Adult D = N < A < E Yau(1983) L2 F 3, 5, ,7 N < E Crowhurst(1980) L1 Gr. 6, 8, ,10 N < A Crowhurst(1979) L1 Gr. 6 D = N < A Gr. 10 N < D < A Perron(1976) L1 Gr. 3 D < N < E < A Gr. 4, 5 D < N E < A San Jose(1972) L1 Gr. 4 D < N < E < A Bortz(1969) LI Gr. 4, 5, ,6 D < N < E F=Form, approximately equivalent to grades 9, 11, and 13. c. Adherence to mode of discourse c r i t e r i a A problem mentioned in several previous studies on syntactic complexity (Yau, Crowhurst, Perron) and in a paper on dif f e r e n t styles of writing in modes (Kantor) was that many students, at least at lower grades, w i l l write in a mode not suggested by the task given. This was also found in the present study. The experimenter read a l l 488 compositions, 61 in each of eight topics. Students appeared to write in the mode indicated by":.the topic in almost a l l of the compositions read in the narrative and descrip^ tive modes. Topic one, Trip, had only 2/61 containing large elements of description. Topic two, Story, had no compositions written out of mode. Topic three, Friend, had 7/61 compositions which contained large elements of narration, and topic four, House, had no compositions written out of mode. With the modes of exposition and argument, the situ a t i o n was much d i f f e r e n t . With topic f i v e , Racism, 23/61 papers did not adhere to mode as defined. With topic six, C i t i z e n , 12/61 compositions appeared to be primarily out of mode. With the argumentative topic seven, Arranged, 26/61 appeared to be out of mode while with topic eight, Mixed, 14/61 wrote primarily out of mode as defined. In exposition and argument, i t should be noted that many of those compositions which were written out of mode contained large elements of narration and description. The writing "out of mode" responses are summarized in Table 6. Table 6: Numbers of Subjects Writing Primarily Out of Mode of Discourse Indicated by the Task. Mode Number Writing Out of Mode Narration 2/122 Description 7/122 Exposition 35/122 Argument 40/122 It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that, even though the modes of exposition and argument showed large elements of narration and description, the results indicated exposition and argument were s t i l l s i g n i f i c a n t l y greater in syntactic complexity than either narration or description. If there had been no s i g n i f i c a n t difference between either argument or exposition and description or narration, one might hypothesize that writing out of mode had masked the true e f f e c t . 58 CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS This study was conducted to determine whether variation in modes of discourse would affect syntactic complexity in the writing of adult E.S.L. learners. To answer this question, eight classes of Advanced level E.S.L. students at Vancouver Community College wrote compositions on two different topics in each of narration, description, argument, and exposition. Two topics per mode were used in an attempt to lessen a possible topic effect and to ensure a large enough word sample for r e l i a b i l i t y in analyzing for mean words per T-unit. The two topics.resulted in a. mean number of words per mode of from 398.58 in argument to 515.89 in narration. Composition topics were randomly assigned to class and the composi-tions were written under standardized conditions over an eight week period. After a l l compositions were collected, only those subjects who had written a l l eight compositions at the specified times were included in the study. This resulted in eight d i f f e r e n t compositions from 61 subjects being included in the study which then gave 122 compositions in each of four modes. Compositions were analyzed to determine mean words per T-unit by mode. The s t a t i s t i c a l procedure used to determine s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t differences between mode means was a two-tailed t-test for a dependent sample. Differences between means were tested at the .05 l e v e l of significance for six pairs of modes: narration/ description, narration/exposition, narration/argument, description/ exposition, description/argument, and exposition/argument. The 59 results showed that there were s i g n i f i c a n t differences at .001 or better between five of six pairs of means: N-E, N-A, D-E, D-A, and E-A. A. Differences in complexity Considering the size of the sample, the use of two topics per mode, the random assignment of topics to class, and the standard-ized writing procedures, the only conclusion can be that Advanced le v e l adult E.S.L. learners at Vancouver Community College vary the degree of syntactic complexity with variation in mode except when writing in narration or description. As was discussed in Chapter Four, the results found in this study are similar to the results found in f i r s t language studies and the one other second language study. Of the f i r s t language studies comparing modes of discourse with complexity, Crowhurst (1978, 1980), Perron ( 1 9 7 7 ) , San Jose ( 1 9 7 2 ) , and Bortz ( 1 9 6 9 ) found s i g n i f i c a n t differences among some or a l l modes tested (see Table 5). The exceptions were Perron's grade four's and five's in which no difference was found between narration and exposition, and Crowhurst's (1978) grade six's where no difference was found between description and narration. As Perron used only one topic per mode and had a very small sample size, i t i s very l i k e l y that the opposite result of a s i g n i f i c a n t difference, found by Bortz, San Jose, Yau in second language, and in the present study i s the "true" result. Although the result of no s i g n i f i c a n t difference between description and narration was the opposite of the hypothesized result in this study, i t does support the result found for Crowhurst's (1978) grade si x ' s . 60 As the design of Crowhurst's study should provide the most r e l i a b l e r esults, i t may be that narration and description w i l l not usually result in a difference in complexity. The subjects in the present study had a grade equivalent reading l e v e l of 5 .1 , which i s similar to Crowhurst's grade si x ' s . However, for Crowhurst's grade ten's, the result was a s i g n i f i c a n t difference for N-D as i t was for Perron's, San Jose's, and Bortz's subjects. The mixed results from these different studies make i t d i f f i c u l t to come to any conclusions regarding those two modes. It may be that once other test factors such as topic and sample size are taken into account, the result may depend on the age or grade le v e l of the subjects. For argument and exposition, the results of this study support the two other studies investigating those modes. Although the evidence is n ' t strong, as San Jose may have b u i l t a practice effect into her study and also used only one topic per mode, and Perron had a very small sample size and used one topic per mode, the indication i s that one can expect a difference between argu-ment and exposition. However, more research would have to be done to s e t t l e that question. For argument versus narration and description, and exposition versus narration and description, i t appears that there are s i g n i f i c a n t differences in both f i r s t and second language writing. Of a l l studies reviewed, only Perron's grade four's and five's showed no difference between narration and exposition and that has been discussed. When the potential confounding factors in Perron's study are taken into account, a r e p l i c a t i o n of that study may very well show a d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t . 61 B. Direction of complexity Based on mode means and s t a t i s t i c a l differences between means, the .indicated direction of complexity i s D = N < A < E. This i s similar to that found in previous f i r s t language studies and to Yau's study with Chinese speaking E.F.L. subjects in Hong Kong (see Table 5). The common result has been either argument or exposition greater than either narration or description. The only variation was Perron's (1977) grade four's and five's who did not write expositions with greater syntactic complexity than narrations. The result in the present study of A <, E, though not a great surprise, i s the opposite to that found by Perron and San Jose. However, as discussed in the previous section, Perron used a single topic and had a small word sample while San Jose's results could be c r i t i c i z e d because of a possible practice effect due to the sequencing of topics in her study, and she also used a single topic per mode. In addition to Perron and San Jose, Seegers grade four's, f i v e ' s , and six's, a l l showed argument to produce greater complexity than exposition although she did not use W/TU as a measure. In the present study, the result of A ( E appeared to be determined by one topic, C i t i z e n . This expository topic was 1.413 W/TU greater than the next nearest topic, Arranged, which was an argumentative topic. The expository and argumentative topics, Racism (E), Arranged (A), and Mixed (A) were a l l within a range of .56 W/TU (Appendix 0). It may be that for exposition and argument complexity i s more topic sensitive. However, with the few studies done and the potential for confounding effects within those studies, more studies with better controls w i l l have to be 62 done to determine the r e l a t i v e effect of argument and exposition on syntactic complexity. For the modes of description and narration, there have been somewhat .mixed re s u l t s . The present study indicated no s i g n i f i c a n t difference as did Crowhurst's (1978.) grade s i x ' s . However, Crowhurst's (1978) grade ten's wrote more complex descriptions than narrations while Perron, San Jose, and B o r t z ; a l l found narration to produce greater complexity. The present study and that of Crowhurst perhaps had the better controls for potential confounding variables such as sample size and non-standardized procedures; however, even then Crowhurst's study showed different results for the two grades tested. It may be that in L1 writing, for narration and description, syntactic complexity i s sensitive to age or grade. With the mixed results of the studies done to date, i t cannot be suggested what the expected result might be in either L1 or L2 writing. Certainly further research i s necessary to s e t t l e the question. The existing data, including the results from the present study, do suggest that in L2 as well as in L1, students w i l l use more complex structures when writing in argument and exposition than in narration and description. At this point in time, i t i s not known exactly why that i s . It i s a theoretical question and there i s r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e data to work with. However, there are several p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The use of more complex syntax in argument and exposition may represent the transfer of a learned response from a student's native culture. When data becomes available on the effects of mode variation en syntactic complexity in written discourse in other, languages, i t may be possible to say more about the s i m i l a r i t y of L1 and L2 responses. However, complexity 63 studies in other languages wouldn't necessarily t e l l us whether the response to variation in mode reflected an inherent cognitive process or a learned response within.:the s p e c i f i c culture. A second p o s s i b i l i t y explaining the s i m i l a r i t y of L1 and L2 responses to mode i s that i t i s the result of a system of logic inherent in the second language, in this instance, English. That would lend support to theory which suggests.that the process of learning a second language i s similar to the process of learning i t as a f i r s t language. Again, no positive statements can be made u n t i l more information i s made available on responses to mode variation in other languages. A third p o s s i b i l i t y i s that the apparent variation in written syntactic complexity r e f l e c t s universal thought processes. In support of this theory, some general statements have been made. In Crowhurst's (1978) study of f i r s t language writing, she . •.: suggested that, "Perhaps high syntactic complexity in argument i s a function of the essential nature of argument" (p. 107). Yau, in her studywith E.F . L . students in Hong King, proposed that, "Narration does not require the kind of abstraction that exposi-tion or argumentation entails and i s , therefore, the least cognitively demanding of the three to process" (p. 109). Perron (1977), with less abstraction, wrote, "Apparently, the modes of discourse present different syntactic challenges to writers in the elementary grades studied here. Such results indicate that performance tasks in writing encourages switches in underlying structures" (p. 13). The statements by Crowhurst and Yau are i n t u i t i v e l y a t t r a c t i v e as explanations. It i s reasonable that the complexity of thought or the r e l a t i v e l y more complex i n t e r -64 relationship of propositions required in argument or exposition i s then reflected in the syntactic complexity of written discourse. It may not be possible at the present time to say more about syntactic complexity, mode, and thought processes without getting involved in a philosophical discussion. For instance, Kineavy (1971) suggested that the four modes of discourse are grounded in certain philosophic concepts of the nature of r e a l i t y . He said: The ultimate attempt of discourse to refer to r e a l i t y should ... be grounded in the nature of r e a l i t y , not in the nature of language. To each of four modes of discourse there corresponds a p r i n c i p l e of .thought which•permits r e a l i t y to be considered in this way. Therefore each of the modes has i t s own peculiar l o g i c . (pp. 36,37) Then we assume that syntactic complexity in writing i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the thought processes required to express that l o g i c . Hoetker (1982) would suggest that the l a s t statement should not be accepted u n c r i t i c a l l y . In discussing the effects of mode variation on syntactic complexity, Hoetker reviewed Rosen's (1969) study. Referring to Rosen, Hoetker said: He also noted, however, that there was more variation in syntactic complexity from mode to mode in the papers written by superior students. He ascribes this to the superior adaptability of the brighter students, but.the finding should warn us that observed differences in the language used in different modes cannot be i d e n t i f i e d u n c r i t i c a l l y as essential differences in the ch a r a c t e r i s t i c requirements of different modes. (p. 382) Obviously, i t i s not known why L1 students appear to use r e l a t i v e l y more complex syntax in arguments and expositions and i t is not known why some L2 students apparently respond in the same way. It may not be possible to know. However, for whatever i s happening below the surface, the evidence does appear to indicate that for both f i r s t language and second language English students, the task, here, s p e c i f i c a l l y mode of discourse, does cause variation in the r e l a t i v e complexity of written syntax, and there are p r a c t i c a l implications resulting from this observed phenomenon which are discussed in sections E and F of this chapter. C. Adherence to mode of discourse c r i t e r i a One factor which has been mentioned in previous studies (e.g., Kantor, 1976; Crowhurst, 1978; Yau, 1983) i s that students w i l l not always write in the mode of discourse indicated by the task. It i s either necessary to design studies which use compositions written primarily within mode or at least to take out of mode writing into account in the re s u l t s . In the present study, as was shown in Chapter Four, approximately one third of the papers written in the modes of exposition and argument contained large elements of narration or description whereas papers written in the l a t t e r modes were very largely written in.those modes as defined. Even with large elements of out of mode writing, the,present study showed s i g n i f i c a n t differences between argument or exposition and narration or description. If papers are analyzed assuming mode from stimulus rather than from mode as product, ..out of mode writing could possibly mask a true effect when looking for differences between modes. Also, in this study one might presume that i f only papers written primarily within mode were analyzed, the differences between exposition or argument and narration or description might be greater than they otherwise were. Out of mode writing i s not a new phenomenon. Yau, in her study o f E.F.L. students in Hong Kong said that, "A subjective examination of the F.3 expositions suggested that many of the F.3 students turned the exposition into a kind of narrative description. Even those who managed to conform to the writing instruction made use of a substantial number o f narrative d e t a i l s as support for their expositions" (p. 107). Crowhurst (1978) also found a s i g n i f i c a n t incidence of. subjects writing out o f mode. As she states: At Grade 6, ,:argument was the most s y n t a c t i c a l l y complex with no s i g n i f i c a n t differences between description and narration. The leading position o f argument at Grade 6 was achieved despite the presence in the c e l l o f 17 out of 40 subjects who f a i l e d to write arguments consistently and whose writing was less s y n t a c t i c a l l y complex than that of subjects in either narration or description., (p.. 91.) Kantor (1976), in a study o f composition writing, discussed how children use a variety of modes and methods to support their arguments. He says: Although younger students may lapse into narrative or descrip-tive modes, perhaps as a natural tendency, they may be using these modes symbolically as a means of performing more sophisticated i n t e l l e c t u a l tasks. And, responding to writing stimuli designed to e l i c i t the modes o f . e x p o s i t i o n or argu-mentation, they may employ the more "comfortable" modes to create as well as to discover the arguments necessary to meeting the demands of the assignment. (p . 6 )-In the present study, a common strategy to deal with arguments and expositions in those compositions which were to a large degree written out of mode was to use a narrative approach. Students would respond to the task by t e l l i n g a story which indicated their point of view (Appendix P). Another common occurrence was for students to write a background in the form of a narration or description and then give their points of view in one, two, or three sentences near the end of their compositions. It i s not s t r i c t l y within the bounds of this study to speculate exactly why 67 students often appeared to write out of mode. It could simply be that the adult E.S.L. subjects in this study don't have the experience to write in exposition or argument as those modes are defined. It may be that they don't have the f a c i l i t y with, and knowledge of, the syntax required to write e f f e c t i v e l y in those modes. It could be a lack of vocabulary necessary to write in the topics tested or perhaps the manipulation of relationships between more complex propositions requires a certain capacity, as yet undefined, that lower l e v e l E.S.L. and E.F.L. learners do not have. An,examination of those compositions which exhibited a high proportion of narration and description along,with an examination of the background and language a b i l i t i e s of the subjects who wrote those compositions might prove f r u i t f u l . What i s important i s that researchers and instructors be aware of the p o s s i b i l i t y of out of mode writing and examine compositions for mode as product rather than assuming mode from stimulus since E.S.L. students at certain levels of proficiency may not write in modes as we define them; D. Words per T-unit as an index of complexity Because W/TU has been shown to be a simple to use and r e l i a b l e objective measure of syntactic complexity, considerable research has been done in both f i r s t language (e.g., Hunt, 1965; O'Donnell et a l . , 1967) and second language (e.g., Larsen-Freeman, 1978; Gaies, 1976) to evaluate the p o s s i b i l i t y of establishing norms of development using W/TU as a measure. It.has been established in L1 research that, because W/TU i s not stable for 68 individual students within and across modes of discourse (e.g., Crowhurst, 1978; Witte and Davis, 1980), W/TU cannot be expected to give a r e l i a b l e measure of an individual's syntactic develop-ment. This i s supported by other studies investigating purpose of writing (Rosen, 1969) and audience (Crowhurst, 1978) which have shown complexity to be a function of those two variables. With respect to second language ac q u i s i t i o n , Gaies (1980) has said: The attractiveness of an index l i k e mean T-unit length i s two-fold: f i r s t , i t would be a. global measure of l i n g u i s t i c development external to any particular set of data and second, i t would allow for meaningful numerical comparisons between f i r s t and second language ac q u i s i t i o n . (p. 54) In L2 research, Yau has shown that mode i s a variable which can affect syntactic complexity in writing. The present study provides information which supports.Yau and indicates that an index of development would have to take into consideration modes of dis-course. Though other s i t u a t i o n a l factors have not yet been researched in second language, future studies which attempt to provide information on developmental aspects of syntactic complexity might have to control for or specify factors such as audience, topics, and purpose of writing. For groups of students, W/TU could be a useful tool for description or c l a s s i f i c a t i o n as i s a standardized reading test. For second language subjects, an index would allow for comparisons of syntactic development between other groups of second language learners and also between L2 subjects and f i r s t language learners. As an example of the potential for using W/TU for comparison with groups of language learners, one.might ask whether adult E.S.L. students progress as quickly in their development of complexity 69 as do L1 students or other L2 subjects. A comparison of mean T-unit length by mode for various studies i s given in Table 7. The numbers of topics used per mode are given in brackets in the right column. Results from five studies which are comparable either by grade, l e v e l , or reading mark are included. T-unit results from many L2 studies have been ignored because they either did not control for mode or topic, did not state in the reports the mode and topic used, or a rewrite exercise was used as the task. As can be seen in narration, the subjects in the present study wrote words per T-unit higher than Perron's high grade f i v e ' s , Crowhurst's (1978) grade ten's, Crowhurst's (1980) grade six's and Yau's E.F.L. F.7's, the highest l e v e l second language learners in the Hong Kong public schools. In description, subjects wrote W/TU higher than Perron's high grade five's and Crowhurst's..'(1978) grade si x ' s . In exposition, subjects wrote W/TU higher than Perron's high grade five's and Yau's F. 5 1 s'. In argument, subjects wrote W/TU above Perron's combined grade f i v e ' s , above Crowhurst's (1978) grade six's but less than Crowhurst's (1980) grade si x ' s . It appears that, i f one accepts a f i r s t language reading test as a val i d instrument for assessing second language reading proficiency, then certain rough comparisons can be made with the studies presented. Second language subjects in this study are further ahead in the development of syntactic complexity than they are in their reading development when compared to f i r s t language students and E.F.L. non-adults. The results, though obviously based on inadequate data and far from conclusive, give a.suggestion that for adult E.S.L. learners, the development of syntactic complexity in writing may proceed more rapidly than the development of reading a b i l i t y . 70 Table 7 A Comparison of Results from Studies Investigating Mode Differences Using Words Per T-Unit. Study Grade N D E A Topics Perron Gr. 3 7 . 20 6.20 8.15 10.42 (1) L1 1977 Gr. 4 8.91 7.59 8.98 12.81 (1) Gr. 5 9.56 8.48 10.42 13.06 (1) High Gr. 5 10.70 9.73 11.78 14.28 (1) Crowhurst Gr. 6 10.13 10.45 11 .75 (3) 111 1978 Gr. 10 11.15 12.81 14.26 (3) Crowhurst Gr. 6 10.60 13.78 (3) L1 1980 Gr. 10 12.48 15.17 (3) Gr. 12 12.51 16.06 (3) Yau (EFL) F. 3 9.0 1 1 .04 (1) 1983 F.5 10.0 12.71 (1) F.7 11 .48 15.64 (1) Present (Read 5.1) 11.82 11.50 13.93 12.97 (2) Study ESL 71 E. Significance of results to other areas of research The p o s s i b i l i t y that mode can s i g n i f i c a n t l y affect syntactic complexity in E.S.L. writing has implications for any area of research in which complexity i s a factor. Two of those are sentence-combining (S-C) studies and quality studies. In S-C studies, where the aim i s to discover the effectiveness of sentence-combining practice, i t i s necessary to pre-. and post-test in the same mode. A researcher who uses a narrative or descriptive composition in a pre-test and an expository or argumentative topic in a post-test w i l l very l i k e l y find an increase in complexity. Of course, i t i s just as l i k e l y that the difference i s due to mode as to the S-C practice. A similar problem exists with quality studies which test to find the relationship between overall quality and syntactic complexity in composition writing. If i t i s true that argument and exposition w i l l consistently produce higher syntactic complexity than narration or description, then, t h e o r e t i c a l l y an hypothesis of no-significant difference would have to assume that expositions and arguments always produce better writing than narration or description. It has been discussed before, but one has to remember that W/TU i s a rough measure of complexity. O'Donnell (1976), in discussing children's writing, reminds us that, "... indices based on mean length of syntactic units do not discriminate among the various ways length can be achieved" (p. 33). Also, i t has to remembered that i f syntactic complexity provides another point of view of writing development, i t i s only one factor in writing. As Raymond (1982) has pointed out: 72 It i s not necessarily true that any given sample of prose with long T-units i s necessarily better than another sample with short T-units, not even i f they both contain precisely the same information. (p.401) F. Conclusions and suggestions for further research T-unit analysis has been used to measure syntactic complexity in a variety of areas of composition research. The need for research on mode effects in composition writing i s well established. In f i r s t language, studies on mode effects have indicated that conclusions drawn from: data i n studies wfiieh have not. taken mode into account may be i n v a l i d . Whereas E.S.L. research has s i m i l a r l y investigated d i f f e r e n t aspects of composition writing involving measures of complexity, at this point i n time, very l i t t l e research has been done on the effects of s i t u a t i o n a l variables. Mode of discourse i s one variable which has generally been ignored in composition studies. The results of the analysis of the compositions gathered for this study support the hypothesis that mode can s i g n i f i c a n t l y affect syntactic complexity in compositions written by adult learners of English as a second language. The results showed that for the Advanced l e v e l adult E.S.L. subjects in this study, the degree of complexity as measured by W/TU depended on the mode of discourse except for narration and description which showed no si g n i f i c a n t differences between means indicated a direction in complexity of D = N < A < E. The results are similar to those found in f i r s t language studies and to Yau (1983) in E.F.L. It i s quite clear that the mode results found in the present study indicate that classroom instructors, researchers, 73 and others involved in testing and evaluation should be aware that argument and exposition may result in more complex syntax than either narration or description. For those who teach and assess writing, i t should be recognized that narration and description may not "stimulate" or give students the opportunity to use more complex structures as do argument, and exposition. In addition, previous complexity studies which have based results on samples collected in which mode has not been controlled may have to be re-evaluated. This applies to studies investigating T-unit as index of development, sentence-combining studies which aim to show an increase in complexity due to S-C practice, and studies comparing overall quality with complexity. Much of the research that has been done in second language writing lacks v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y because of sample size, or lack of standardized procedures or lack of controls for potential confounding variables. The v a l i d i t y and r e l i a b i l i t y of results from future composition studies w i l l be increased considerably i f investigators control for mode as well as topic, and third ensure large enough sample sizes for complexity analysis. Two studies, the present study and that by Yau, indicate that E.S .L . students show a s i m i l a r i t y to f i r s t language learners in response to a given writing task. What this means in re l a t i o n to the question of s i m i l a r i t y between f i r s t and second language development generally w i l l have to be discussed in the future when more data are available; To gather those data, as there i s r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e research in the development of E.S .L . writing, a re p l i c a t i o n of the present, study using the same topics or dif f e r e n t topics as well as investigation at other levels of proficiency and in other languages would be useful. Of course, as mode affected complexity in E.S.L. compositions, i t would also be useful to investigate other s i t u a t i o n a l factors such as purpose for writing, audience, and time for writing. The W/TU measure of syntactic complexity i s a r e l i a b l e but unsophisticated measure. It does not t e l l us how complexity d i f f e r s by mode. It would be helpful to know i f the greater complexity in argument and exposition i s due to longer clauses or a higher number of clauses per T-unit. This would be a useful area of research. Another question to be looked at, i s whether second language learners at other levels exhibit the same tendency to write out of mode when given argument or exposition as the writing task. Instructors and researchers should be aware that the task mode as stimulus w i l l not necessarily result in the task mode as product. Further, i t would be useful to find out the factors which cause some subjects to write out of mode. It i s not known at this time i f i t i s a function of general proficiency in the second language, l e v e l of education in the f i r s t language, a c u l t u r a l c o n f l i c t or lack of practice in the part i c u l a r modes. 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(b) (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 126 511) Perron, J.D. The impact of mode on written syntactic complexity:  Part II.I-f-i fth •-••grade. Studies in Language Education. Report No. 27. Athens: University of Georgia, 1976. (c) (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 128 827) Perron, J.D. Written syntactic complexity and the modes of  discourse. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association,.New York, A p r i l , 1977. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 139 009) Raymond, James C. What we don't know about the evaluation of writing. College Composition and Communication, .1982,~33, 399-403. Reesink, G.P., Holleman-van der Sleen, S.B., Stevens, K., & Kohnstumm, G.A. (Development of syntax among school children and adults: a replication-investigation.) Nederlands  T i j d s c h r i f t voor de Psychologie en haar Grensgebieden, 1971, 26, 335-364. (Psychological Abstracts, 1971, 47, No. 10536.) Rosen, H. An investigation of the effects of di f f e r e n t i a t e d writing assignments on the performance in English composition  of a selected group of 15/16 year old p u p i l s . U n p u b l i s h e d Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1969. San Jose, C.P.M. Grammatical structures in four modes of writing at fourth grade l e v e l (Doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University, 1972). Dissertation Abstracts International, 1973, 33, 5411A. (University Microfilms No. 73-9563) Seegars, J.C. Form of discourse and. sentence structure. Elementary English Review, March 1933, 1_0> 51-54. Sharma, A. Syntactic maturity: assessing writing proficiency in a  second language. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University, Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Frontiers in Language Proficiency and Dominance Testing, 1979. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 185105) Stewart, Murray F. Syntactic maturity from high school to university: a f i r s t look. Research in the Teaching of English, 1979, 1_3, 207-215. Stewart, M.F. & Grobe, C.H. Syntactic maturity, mechanics of writing and teachers' quality ratings. Research in the Teaching  of English, 1979, Y5_, 207-215. 80 Vann, Roberta J. Oral and written syntactic relationships in second language learning. In CA. Yoria, K. Perkins, & 3. Schachter (Eds.), ON TESOL '79: The Learner in Focus. TESOL, Washington, D.C, 1979, 322-329. Veal, L.R., & Tillman, M. Mode of discourse variation in the evaluation of children's writing. Research in the Teaching  of English, 1971, 5 , 37-45. Wiseman, S., & Wirgley, J. E s s a y - r e l i a b i l i t y : the effect of choice of e s s a y - t i t l e . Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1958, 18^ 129-138. Witte, S.P., & Davis, A.S. The s t a b i l i t y of T-unit length: a preliminary investigation. Research in the Teaching of English, 1980, 1_4, 5-17. Witte, S.P. & Sodowsky, R.E. Syntactic maturity in the writing of  college freshmen. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Conference on College Compositoin and Communication, Denver, Colorado, March, 1978. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 163 460) Wode, Henning. Developmental sequences in n a t u r a l i s t i c L2 acquis i t i o n . In E. Hatch (Ed.), Second language acquisition. Rowley Mass: Newbury House, 1978. Wynn, J.H. Determining the internal.consistency of English compositions using selected c r i t e r i a (Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n , The Louisiana State University and Ag r i c u l t u r a l and Mechanical College, 1978). Dissertation Abstracts International, 1977, 3347A-3348A. (University Microfilms No. 77-25, 407) Yau, Margaret Sin-Siu. Syntactic development in the writing of E.S.L. students (Masters Thesis, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1983). 81 APPENDIX A For s t a t i s t i c a l analysis, the six research predictions given in Chapter One were translated into the following n u l l hypotheses and tested at a .05 le v e l of significance. Ho 1: As measured by mean T-unit length, there w i l l be no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the mode of narration and in the mode of description. Ho 2: As measured by mean T-unit length, there w i l l be no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the mode of narration and in the mode of exposition. Ho 3: As measured by mean T-unit length, there w i l l be no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the mode of narration and in the mode of argument. Ho 4:' As measured by mean T-unit length, there w i l l be no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the mode of description and in the mode of exposition. Ho 5: As measured by mean T-unit length, there w i l l be no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the mode of description and in the mode of argument. Ho 6: As measured by mean T-unit length, there w i l l be no si g n i f i c a n t difference between the syntactic complexity of compositions written in the mode of exposition and in the mode of argument. APPENDIX B Example of a Scored Paper 79188132 "My idea of mixed marriages" In Canada has dif f e r e n t n a t i o n a l i t i e s since Canada has been immigrating for people from a l l different countries,/so mixed marriages are becoming more common./ I don't know i f i t i s a good idea or a bad idea./ But I think i t i s a good idea for the Canadian economy./ Since I have been in Canada, I thought Canada was divided into a many countries;/ therefore, the economy of this country has not developed as America./ The big number of people have more power and a great idea./ In Canada, the people only get together same n a t i o n a l i t i e s , / so we have more r a c i a l discrimination. When.the mixed marriages are becoming more common, in Canada has becoming more powerful countries in the economy and p o l i t i c a l . / I have a opinion for a bad idea of mixed marriages, which I don't want lose my native customs./ Even though I am l i v i n g in Canada I w i l l teach a t r a d i t i o n a l customs for my future children./ Also i t i s very d i f f i c u l t to get together with a di f f e r e n t n a t i o n a l i t i e s . / They can speak almost a perfect English/ but they don't understand their opinions very well. 186 words 15 T-units 12.4 words per T-unit 83 APPENDIX C The languages represented in this study were determined from an information questionaire distributed to the students at the end of the F a l l 1981 term and from direct questioning of some students. Language Number Cantonese 32 Mandarin 1 Hakka 1 Vietnamese 9 Japanese 4 Punjabi 3 Indonesian 2 Spanish 2 Hungarian 2 Korean 1 Philipino 1 Croatian 1 Polish 1 Roumanian 84 APPENDIX D Biographical information on the subjects of this study. The information i s not complete for a l l 61 subjects. Factor N Mean Standard Deviation Females Males Time in English Speaking Canada Time at K.E.C. Age Education Reading Level Grade Equivalent 32 22 5 4 52 52 51 54 41.40 mos, 14.42 mos, 29.98 yrs, 11.87 yrs, 5.12 38.67 mos. 13.52 mos. 10.83 yrs. 4.28 yrs. 1.03 APPENDIX E Example of student composition assignment: Advanced Composition Directions: Put your name, student number, and class time at the top of your f i n a l copy. You are expected to be able to write a minimum of 150 words on this topic. That i s approximately one and a half pages double spaced. You w i l l have 15 minutes at the beginning to ask questions of your teacher about the topic. You w i l l then have a maximum of one hour and f i f t e e n minutes to write. If you don't have time for a re-write, hand in both your rough copy and your p a r t i a l l y re-written copy to your teacher. You may use either English or b i l i n g u a l d i c t i o n a r ies but remember that your time i s limited. For this composition you are expected to do your own work. Topic: Write a composition t e l l i n g about a holiday t r i p you have taken. The holiday might have been taken when you liv e d in your country or after you came to Canada.. It can be a long t r i p or a short t r i p . 86 APPENDIX F The following instructions were discussed with and agreed upon by the instructors involved in this study. Item 10 was for the benefit of the student. Any student who changed classes was taken out of the study but continued to participate in composition writing. However, rather than having that student possibly repeat an assignment, the student wrote a composition he or she had not yet done but had been done in the new class. Item 11 was also for the benefit of the student. If a student was absent on composition day, that student was taken out of the study, but i f a teacher wanted that student to write the composition, i t was allowed. Also the student continued to write on following composition days. The following i s the memo given to and discussed with the instructors p a r t i c i p a t i n g in this study. Instructions to the Teacher 1. The purpose i s to standardize the administration of this set of compositions. 2. The students should be told that they are being evaluated for: 1) grammatical correctness 2) sentence variety 3) content (which includes organization). 3. The students should not be told that they are p a r t i c i p a t i n g in any kind of study. 4. The correction symbols used and whether or not the students are given a mark i s a decision to be made by an individual instructor. However, i t i s desirable that the instructor be consistent. 5. Please have your students write their f i n a l copy on the foolscap provided. Read through the instructions and topic with the students. Be sure to answer any questions they have concerning the topic and make sure they understand the topic; however, do not in any way 'write' the composition for the students. Please t e l l the students when they have 20 minutes remaining to encourage them to f i n i s h on time. Remind them that the length i s a guideline, that the topic and what they have to say w i l l determine the length. Remind students that their writing should improve with practice so they should make every e f f o r t to attend on composition day. If you get a student who has changed classes, allow that student to write a composition which he or she has missed. If a student has missed a writing session, i t i s up to the instructor whether the student w i l l make i t up. 88 APPENDIX G Topics Each student wrote eight compositions, two in each of four modes. The directions to the student were the same for each composition. However, directions and topic were given to each student on dittoed paper on each composition day. The topics l i s t e d below are not in a pa r t i c u l a r sequence as they were randomly assigned to class and therefore, each class wrote a di f f e r e n t sequence of compositions. 1. Topic: Write a composition t e l l i n g about a holiday t r i p you have taken. The holiday might have been taken when you l i v e d in your country or after you came to Canada. It can be a long t r i p or a short t r i p . 2. Topic: Write a composition t e l l i n g about a funny or unusual event which has happened in your family. This might be some-thing that happened at a wedding, a reunion, or during a v i s i t from some re l a t i v e s or friends. 3. Topic: Write a composition describing someone you know well. You should describe both the person's physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and personality c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . In describing this person, try to be as complete as possible so that your teacher would know who you are talking about without being introduced. 4. Topic: Write a composition describing your apartment or house in your native country. Try to be as complete as possible so that your teacher would be able to recognize i t without being told whose apartment or house i t was. Topic: People from many different countries are deciding to l i v e and raise their children in Canada. Racism i s a problem in many countries in the world. We don't want the same thing to happen in Canada. It would be interesting to know how you think we could solve this problem. Write a.composition t e l l i n g how you think we can reduce or eliminate racism in Canada. Topic; Write a composition t e l l i n g how a person can become a Canadian c i t i z e n . If you are not exactly sure of the process, t e l l as much as you know or what you think are the steps involved. Topic: In Canada, arranged marriages are not as common as they are in some other countries. It would be interesting to know what you think about this subject. Write a composition t e l l i n g whether you believe arranged marriages are a good or a bad idea, giving your reasons for your opinion. Topic: In Canada, mixed marriages are becoming more common. It would be interesting to know what you think about this subject. Write a composition t e l l i n g whether you think mixed marriages are a good or bad idea, giving your reasons for your opinion. APPENDIX H Eight classes of Advanced le v e l students participated in this study. Three instructors taught two classes each and two taught one class each. The class numbers in the design grid i n Appendix K correspond to the class numbers given below. Instructor Class Number Class Time S i n c l a i r 1 3:00 P.M. S i n c l a i r 2 7:00 P.M. Gerber 3 8:30 A.M. Gerber 4 12:00 A.M. God frey 5 8:00 A.M. Godfrey 6 12:30 P.M. Scholefi eld 7 7:00 P.M. Soga 8 7:00 P.M. 91 APPENDIX I The design grid given below shows the classes p a r t i c i p a t i n g , the dates the compositions were written, and the assigned topics. The topic numbers are given in the c e l l s of the grid and correspond to:-the sequence of topics given in Appendix H. The dates of the writing sessions are l i s t e d v e r t i c a l l y on the l e f t . The class numbers, which correspond .to .the. numbers given., in Appendix '. I, .are l i s t e d horizontally across the top of the grid. The topics were assigned to class in random order from a table of random numbers. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Sept 17th 8 4 6 2 3 4 5 1 Sept 24th 3 2 1 3 2 5 7 7 Oct 1st 5 7 5 8 6 3 6 6 Oct 8th 6 8 8 4 4 8 2 5 Oct 15th 1 5 7 6 7 6 1 4 Oct 22nd 7 1 3 1 5 2 3 8 Oct 29th 4 3 4 5 1 1 4 3 Nov 5th 2 6 2 7 8 7 8 2 APPENDIX J Segmentation Rules: Word Counts As with the segmentation rules for T-unit analysis, the rules for word counting presented some unique problems. Where possible, the rules follow those found in f i r s t language studies. However, new rules had to be created to take into account common special problems of E.S.L. writers. 1. Do not count words struck out in T-unit counts. 2. Do not count t i t l e s , good-byes, or thankyous which are out-side the main body of the composition. 3. In l i s t s , do not count " I ) 1 , ' 2 ) 1 , 'a)», 'b)', etc. 4. Count only one 'etc. 1 in a series. 5. Expand contractions, e.g. I'm = two words. 6. Expand 'joined' words, e.g. infrontof = 3 words. 7. A l l hyphenated words count two or more. e.g. sister-in-law = three words. 8. Compound words count as one. i e . „ bedroom.one, word .. '.  ^  . ?. A l l abbreviations count as one word. i e . a.m., V. C.C. , or PNE. 10. Uncompounded compound words count one. ie.. bath room. 11. 'Cannot' was counted as 2 words in this study. 12. A l l numbers count as one word either in word or numeral form but 'a year and a h a l f counts 5 words. 13. Dates count as they are given, i e . Oct 1, 1978 counts 3 words. 14. Time i s counted as follows: 3:00 = one word 3 o'clock = two words. Count a l l symbols as one word. i e . $, ?•, but not the slash in he/she. Age counts as follows: 35 = one word 35 years old = three words. A l l t i t l e s were counted as follows: Mr., Mrs., or Dr. count one; Prime Minister count two. C i t i e s , provinces, countries, and continents count as one word. Other geographical names and other proper names count as one or more words depending on whether the names are separable or inseparable, i e . Southeast Asia = two words. White House = one word Stanley Park = two words Long Point Camp = two words Big Steel Man = one word APPENDIX K Segmentation Rules: T-units Segmenting E.S .L . compositions presents some problems not encountered with f i r s t language compositions and as a result the segmentation rules for this study became more extensive than any given in native language studies. Where possible, the rules follow those found in f i r s t language studies; however, new rules had to be created r e f l e c t i n g the common special problems of E.S .L . writers. 1. A T-unit i s one independent clause with a l l subordinate clauses attached to i t regardless of punctuation. e.g. When I liv e d in my native country, I used to walk in the park. And watch the birds./ One T-unit. 2. For T-unit analysis, independent clauses can be divided by co-ordinating conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs, and puncuta-tion. 3. 'So' meaning therefore i s a co-ordinator. 'So* meaning in order that i s a subordinator. 4. Analyze T-units as they are given. Do not anticipate meaning or give a subject the benefit of the doubt. e.g. a. If 'but' i s used where ' i f ' i s required, count i t as 'but'. b. If 'that' i s used where 'which' i s required as the re l a t i v e pronoun, count two T-units. i e . She went to L..A. that i s a famous place. 95 c. If a two clause sentence contains both a co-ordinating and a subordinating conjunction, then count two T-units. i e . Although i t rained, but I went out anyway. d. 'Even' i s sometimes used as an apparently short form of even though or even i f . Count two T-units. e. If a sentence with two clauses contains a common subject, count two T-units. i e . I went to the store was very crowded. 5. Strike out and do not consider: a. anything within brackets which i s not at least one T-unit. b. any unattached fragments. c. abridgements of five words or le s s . d. answers to rh e t o r i c a l questions i f not at least one T-unit. 6. With quotations, count the introductory phrase plus the f i r s t following T-unit. Then count each following T-unit separately. 7. With l i s t s , include the f i r s t T-unit following the introductory phrase. Then count each following T-unit. 8. If there i s a redundant pronoun in an adjective clause, count one T-unit. i e . My brother who l i v e s in Vi c t o r i a he l i k e s to f i s h . 9. Short sayings, adages, or proverbs count as one T-unit. i e . A bird has a nest, a man has a home. 10 . If only a verb or a subject i s missing in what would otherwise be a main clause, count one T-unit. However, do not add the missing word. 1 1 . Attach a fragment to a clause to which i t l o g i c a l l y belongs i f possible but exclude bracketed fragments. APPENDIX L Agreement between experimenter and check-coder on word counts for a random selection of 32 compositions. Student # Composition # Experimenter Check-coder Count Count 78389210 1 186 184 2 161 164 3 172 172 4 165 168 5 163 163 6 149 149 7 99 99 8 92 92 79393658 1 306 307 2 220 219 3 229 229 4 212 212 5 205 203 6 121 121 7 228 228 8 204 206 81276388 1 405 404 2 214 214 3 181 182 4 521 522 5 145 145 6 128 127 7 171 171 8 367 368 81283632 1 316 317 2 348 249 3 260 261 4 330 333 5 255 255 6 274 274 7 330 328 8 317 317 APPENDIX M Agreement between e x p e r i m e n t e r and c h e c k - c o d e r on t h e number o f T - u n i t s p e r p a p e r f o r a random s e l e c t i o n o f 32 c o m p o s i t i o n s . S t u d e n t # C o m p o s i t i o n # E x p e r i m e n t e r C h e c k - c o d e r Count Count 78389210 1 18 18 2 .12 12 3 19 19 4 15 14 5 14 13 6 9 9 7 10 10 8 10 10 79393658 1 22 22 2 12 11 3 21 21 4 16 16 5 11 11 6 8 7 7 19 19 8 18 18 81276388 1 37 37 2 23 22 3 16 16 4 41 41 5 9 9 6 6 6 7 13 13 8 23 23 81283632 1 36 36 2 36 737 3 21 21 4 23 24 5 23 23 6 21 21 7 30 30 8 22 22 SPSS 5ATCH SYSTEM FILE NONAME (CREATION DATE « 08/26/83) 08/26/83 PAGE 3 VARIABLE NUMBER STANDARD STANDARD * (DIFFERENCE) STANDARD STANDARD * 2-TAIL * T DEGREES OF 2-TAIL OF CASES MEAN DEVIATION ERROR * MEAN DEVIATION ERROR * CORR. PROB. • VALUE FREEDOM PROB. NARRM1 * * 11.8231 2.069 0.265 * * 61 * 0.3149 1.566 0.201 * 0.678 0.000 * 1 .57 60 0.122 11.5082 1 .771 0.227 * * DESCM1 * NARRM1 * * 11.8231 2.069 0.265 • * 61 * -2.1093 2.323 0.297 + 0.493 O.OOO * -7.09 60 O.OOO 13.9324 2.487 0.318 * * EXP0M1 * * NARRM1 * * 11.8231 2.069 0.265 * 61 * -1.1521 2.696 0.345 * 0.330 0.009 * -3.34 60 0.001 12.9752 2.541 0.325 * ARGUM1 * * DESCM1 * * 11.5082 1 .771 0.227 * * 61 * -2.4242 2.375 0.304 * 0.418 0.001 * -7 .97 60 0.000 13.9324 2.487 0.318 * * EXP0M1 * * DESCM1 * 11.5082 1 .771 0.227 * * 61 * -1.4670 2.615 0.335 * 0.306 0.016 * -4.38 60 O.OOO 12.9752 2.541 0.325 * ARGUM1 * * EXPOM1 * * 13.9324 2.487 0.318 * * 61 * 0.9572 2.183 0.279 * 0.623 O.OOO * 3.42 60 0.001 12.9752 2.541 0.325 * * ARGUM1 * * CO 99 APPENDIX 0 Mean T-unit Length and Standard Deviations for Compositions by Topic Mode Topic W/TU S. D. Narration Trip 11.624 2. 125 Narration Story 12.022 2. 552 Description House 10.948 1 . 961 Description Person 12.068 2. 261 Exposition Racism-'. 13.193 3. 292 Exposition Citizen:. 14.672 2. 999 Argument Arranged .13.259 2. 907 Argument Mixed: 12.691 2. 774 100 APPENDIX P One example of a composition written primarily out of mode. #80188097 Arranged Marriages I was the godmother of a young g i r l in my country. Her father was a blacksmith and he decided to look for a son-in-law who i s a blacksmith, too. He thought that i t i s the best thing in the World to work with a son-in-law in a common workshop. It happened that she f e l l in love with an other young man. Her father locked her up in the house and she couldn't make just one step alone, even to the doctor, to the chirch or to the own yard. She married a blacksmith and she had very nice wedding and she was a beautiful bride, but her face looked as she went to the shooting. She was very unhappy, but she didn't have any choice because she had finished only elementary school and couldn't find a job and leave her father's house before her marriage. Now she i s married about 15 years and I think she has never f a l l e n in love with ..her husband. There are many similar cases in my country, but I don't believe that an arranged marriage can work as a happy one, even i f i t has many conditions for happiness. Every young person who is forced or persuaded feels very hurt during a l l one's l i f e . Every one thinks that he lost something the most valuable in his l i f e - - a freedom of the own selection. A marriage i s a very serious decision and everybody should decide alone, because consequences bears alone, too. 

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