Organization and cohesion of essays by European learners of Japanese as a second language [JP]
Mari Tanaka (Nagoya University of Foreign Studies)
Yukari Tsubone (Osaka University of Tourism)
Paper short abstract:
In the "Organization and Cohesion" part, we analyze the macro-organizational essay patterns seen in European learners' comparison/contrast and opinion essays, along with the meta-language they use, referring to the level of multiple-trait rating for "Organization and Cohesion".
Paper long abstract:
This report analyzes macro-organizational essay patterns and meta-language, referring to the level of multiple-trait (MT) rating for "Organization and Cohesion," using 55 essays of European learners of Japanese as a second language in the I-JAS, where they compared fast food and home cooking, and offered their opinions on eating habits. We used a flow chart designed around MT rating standards. Points were assigned by Level (L) 1-6 from lowest to highest for awareness of organization; awareness of paragraphs; macro-organization (introduction, body, conclusion); cohesion of paragraphs; and agreement between introduction and conclusion. We found the following distribution of essay levels: 4 L1s, 5 L2s, 26 L3s, 15 L4s, 4 L5s, and 1 L6. First, we examined organizational patterns such as number of formal paragraphs, macro-organization, method of developing comparisons (Block style: B-s and Point-by-Point style: P-s), and way of expressing their opinions. We found that half lacked awareness of paragraphs and macro-organization; had no introduction or conclusion; or started a new paragraph for each sentence. For L3 and higher, we saw B-s and P-s patterns; overall there were more B-s patterns. For L4 and higher, B-s patterns and opinions were clearly recognizable, and for L5, there was correspondence between formal paragraphs and content, and paragraph organization was easy to follow. Next, meta-language concerns cohesion between paragraphs, and relates to ratings principally of L3-L5. Most writers at L3 did not use meta-language when changing topic from fast food to home cooking (or vice-versa), or even if they did have meta-language, it was misused. At L4, writers used meta-language at the beginning of paragraphs when they switched topics, and at L5, writers used meta-language at the beginnings of paragraph that announced content to follow, and the essays had clear organization. In our results, we found that scores were higher for "Organization and Cohesion" than for "Japanese Proficiency." This suggests that even if Japanese proficiency of learners is inadequate, high organizational awareness and use of appropriate meta-language can make learners' essays readily comprehensible.
Analysis of essays by European learners of Japanese as a second language: examining results of holistic rating and multiple-trait rating [JP]