Discussing about L2 English Writers
Though not spoken by most people on the world, English is the most common language choice to bridge the language gap among people from different countries. Many scholars come to the U.S. to explore further in their fields of interest, not only because of the atmosphere of advanced technology level and freedom of speech, but also because of the convenience of learning and using English here. However, international scholars here are expected to do research and write papers in English at native-speaker level, but to be proficient on academic English writing is never as easy as achieving a grade of A in a beginning-level foreign language course.
Soo Hyon Kim, author of “Burning Each End of the Candle: Negotiating Dual Identities in Second Language Writing” from Michigan State University, and Hana Kang, author of “Negotiation of Identities in a Multilingual Setting: Korean Generation 1.5 in Email Writing” from Ohio State University, in their essays discuss how L2 English writers strive to reach native-level English proficiency and the bulwark and obstacles they will meet on the way to that goal. As international scholars, both Kim and Kang suffered through this miserable process, and now are highly proficient L2 English writer. However, due to their different experiences, they have different opinions and strategies on how to approach toward that goal. Kim believes that it is more important to keep international scholars’ writing styles than mimicking native way of writing in English. On the other hand, Kang’s experience suggests that the only way to obtain proficient English is to use it often enough so that English becomes the first language choice.
Both using ...
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...tive” language when she starts writing academic papers, English turns to be her native language in writing. The environment of daily life forces Kang to practice English and Chinese often and proficiently, and at the same time diminishing her chances of using her native language Korean. As many other skills, language is a skill that needs to be practiced often to be adept at. When she stopped using Korean in daily life, certainly her Korean proficiency would decrease.
According to Kang’s and Kim’s stories, the daily usage of a foreign language looks like a double-blade sword. Common usage of the foreign language absolutely increases one’s proficiency on it, but at the same time destroys one’s writing identity in her native language. Although Kim and Kang overcame their identity crises, the process seems as painful and tedious as learning the foreign language itself.
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