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Business English, Professional English, Legal English, Medical English, Academic English etc.
Online peer-reviewed Journal for Teachers

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World)

English for Specific Purposes World

ISSN 1682-3257

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World) Home    Information   ESP Encyclopaedia    Resources    Contacts

L1 and L2 Effects on EFL Business Writing: A Holistic Evaluation of Interdependence

Mhamdi Faycel, MA

ESP/EFL Instructor University of
University of Manouba
University of Manouba

Paris 8
ED, 224: Cognition, Langage, Interaction (CLI)
UMR 7023: Structures Formelles du Langage (SFL)



Transfer or cross-linguistic influence within the Tunisian ESP context has been subject of research which applied a discourse-based analytical approach in a qualitative design to attest for examples of cross-linguistic interference (Daoud, 1991a). Notwithstanding the fact that transfer might be attested for through a discourse analysis-based analytical approach, recent theoretical accounts on the cognitive stakes of such an enterprise paved the way to a new understanding of the concept of transfer and of the ways that are possible to gauge it. Under this understanding, Cummins (1991, 1987, 1981; Cummins & Bialystok, 1991; Cummins & Swain, 1986) proposes an ‘interdependence hypothesis’ to explain interdependence and development of proficiency across languages. Responding to a writing task, a group of thirty (30) students majoring in International Trade at the Business School of Tunis (BST) wrote a total of (90) letters of complaints. Nine (9) raters (three for each set of letters) were selected on the basis of their LSP teaching experience to assess our informants’ LSP writing proficiency in terms of scores. Analysis of scores distribution and variability points to significant differences and similarities between our informants’ writing samples across MSA, French and English. The holistic scores distribution tells us that our informants performed around and below average respectively on the MSA and English tasks and above average on the French task. Variability analysis indicates that our informants were equally variable on the MSA and English writing task, while they were relatively homogeneous on the French writing task. A correlation and a linear regression analysis did prove the significance of these interactions.

Key words: interdependence hypothesis, EFL business writing, holistic scoring, psycholinguistics

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