Transfer of Grammatical Knowledge into ESL Writing

S. Mekala
National Institute of Technology
M. Ponmani
National Institute of Technology
M. P. Shabitha
Thiruvalluvar University College of Arts and Science
Keywords: Form-focused instruction, language transfer, second language writing


Writing is a challenging productive skill that necessitates the input of grammar knowledge in the construction of intelligible and appropriate sentences. In the context of second language writing, ESL learners have to be aware of using the target language structures in their writing. The learners’ ability to transfer the metalinguistic knowledge, rhetorical devices, mechanics of writing and logic reasoning into L2 writing is called language transfer. Mikulecky et al. (1998) and Ormrod (1998) have stated the concept of language transfer as the extent to which the learned knowledge of grammatical structure, a subset of literacy skill can be transferred from the classroom to learners’ writing. According to their view form-focused pedagogical intervention assists the learners’ in developing metalinguistic knowledge to comprehend and produce the language in a better way. In this regard, this paper examines to what extent the learners are able to transfer the knowledge of grammar into their writing. Further, it has analysed the grammatical features that can/not be transferred into students’ writing. It has also explored the pedagogical factors that foster transfer of learning. The participants of this study are 58 second year B.A English Literature students of a rural Arts & Science College in Tamilnadu. The results of the study reveal that grammar instruction has enabled the transfer of learned grammar knowledge in their writing task.

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