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Second/foreign language writing apprehension and writing identities




Davis, Leslie A., author
Becker, Anthony, advisor
Grim, Frédérique, advisor
Grim, Frédérique, committee member
Nekrasova-Beker, Tatiana, committee member
Becker, Anthony, committee member
Vogl, Mary, committee member

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Formal academic writing tasks can produce high levels of anxiety or apprehension in students regardless of whether that writing is carried out in their native language or in a second or foreign language. The Colorado State University Writing Center sees 50% of its consultations coming from non-native English students (The Writing Center, n.d.), meaning that this population is over-represented compared to the university as a whole. This over-representation is largely self-motivated because students visit the Writing Center on their own. Given this over-representation, it is necessary to understand why this population of students might be more concerned than others with their academic writing. While much research has focused on the types of anxiety that language students may experience, the possible sources of that anxiety have not been widely discussed. Possible causes include fear of negative evaluation and fear of making mistakes, but the role of the academic discourse community and its influence on writing identities have not yet been explored. This thesis examines writing in a foreign or second language and the possible sources of second language writing apprehension, including students' writing identity and the academic discourse community. Through surveys and individual interviews with students, this study looks at the possible influences on student affect which can in turn impede student progress, such as anxiety, self-doubt, or perceived competence. The study determined that while there is not a strong relationship between writing apprehension and a student's willingness to claim a writing identity, there is a difference between how second and foreign language students experience second language writing.


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second language acquisition
writing affect
foreign language writing
writing identity
second language writing


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