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Research questions • appearance/development of formulaic sequences from one CEFR level to another • functions of various expressions • informative, situational, organizational, evaluative, modal (Moon 1998)
Task 1 E-mail to the teacher • You have not been able to go to school during one week, and you will have an English test soon. Send your teacher, Mary Brown, an e-mail in which you • tell why you have been absent, • ask about two details regarding the exam, and • ask about two more details of the classes of the week. Do not forget to begin and finish the e-mail appropriately. structured; limitations to the content no instructions as to the register a challenge to Finns writing in English some instructions as to the structure of the text FUNCTIONS: conveying information, explaining the situation, modality
Task 2 E-mail to an Internet Store • Your parents have ordered you a computer game from an Internet store, but the software is not working as you wished. Send the store an e-mail in which you tell • who you are, • why you are contacting them (mention and describe two problems), • what you would like to be done, and • how you can be contacted. Do not forget to begin and finish the e-mail appropriately. structured; limitations to the content the task requires a semi-formal register given advice on the content helps in structuring the text FUNCTIONS: conveying information, explaining the situation, asking questions
Analysis • functions of the expressions (according to Moon) • informational, situational, organizational,evaluative, modal rough figures • the definition of a sequence fairly loose • modality/pragmatic aspect • the use of the conditional/imperative/questions • beginning/ending the message • please • clause structures • the use of conjunctions cohesion, coherence and fluency greatly affect the grading
A1 Typical of a performance at this level: • texts are short • the task is not completed • a text can be partly illegible and to an extent incoherent BUT it is a text not ”separate words”
A2 Typical of a performance at this level: • texts are slightly longer and more detailed • the task is almost completed • the text is quite clear BUT it may be impolite but quite well organized or the other way round. Idiomaticity and accuracy may still be very much lacking.
B1 Typical of a performance at this level: • organizational and situational sequences more frequent • modal expressions much more accurate and polite • sequences get more complex • the task (almost) fully completed
Results – B2 English and Finnish: -more complex sequences, in particular organizational and modal ones: If either of those can’t be done, I’d appreciate your help, I’d like you to cover the costs Voisitteko korjata sen tietokonepelin jotenkin tai lähettää uuden? Tai onko mahdollista saada rahaa siitä takaisin? ’Could you fix the game somehow, or send a new one? Or is it possbile to get some money back?’
Conclusions • modality more obvious and more accurate at level B1 • organizational elements appear across the levels but differences in variation, accuracy and complexity • the effect of the task • different types of languages: strongly inflectional vs. analytic/synthetic language • towards more real-life writing (context, reader, register, functions) vs. traditional school writing (separate expressions and sentences, translating sentences and short descriptions) • focusing in teaching and assessing on pragmatic aspects rather than on grammar