Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MEd)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Felicia Lincoln

Committee Member

Freddy A. Bowles

Second Committee Member

Donna S. Owen

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to discover major writing problems international college applicants make when composing electronic communications by analyzing the nature and distribution of their writing errors. Additionally, the researcher seeks to discover if there is a relationship between non-native English speakers’ (NNS) writing errors and demographics, which include: gender, country of origin, country of origin’s official language, program level, and program of study. The researcher hypothesizes that countries with English as an official language and the language of instruction in higher education are the most significant predictor of non-native English speakers’ writing errors in terms of count and type. Errors were analyzed according to taxonomy: grammatical, lexical, semantic, mechanics, and syntax writing errors to determine if there is a recurring type of error that can be targeted by EFL and ESL educators to increase English language learners’ writing abilities. Due to the nature of email writing, this study also examines the elements of an email: email address, subject line, greeting, body paragraph(s), closing, and signature, with a special emphasis on the body paragraph(s). The researcher evaluated errors and determined cultural appropriateness of emails. Using this method, the researcher identifies and provides the means of remediation for some of the most commonly recurring and detrimental communicative missteps experienced by NNS within the usage of the ubiquitous system of electronic mail.