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Characteristics of Written Language

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PERMANENCE: Once something is written down and delivered in its final form to its intended audience, the writer abdicates certain power, the power to emend, to clarify, and to withdraw. Students think that the fact of releasing a written work to their instructor is the same that put them themselves in front of a firing squad. Teacher has to remember he is a guide, a facilitator. So he has to revise and refine students' work in order to lessen their lack of confidence in their work.

PRODUCTION TIME: There are bad and good news. The good news is that given appropriated stretches of time, a writer can become indeed a good writer by developing efficient processes for achieving the final product. The bad news is that most of the educational contexts require students writing within time limitations or writing for display. The goal of the teacher must be to train his students to do the best use of such time limitations.

DISTANCE: One of the biggest problems that a writer faces is anticipating the intended audience. This anticipation ranges from audience general characteristics to how words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs are going to be interpreted. The distance factor has to have cognitive empathy. This means that good writers can read their own writing from the perspective of the mind of the targeted audience. It is very important that writers predict audience's general knowledge.

ORTOGRAPHY: There are two kinds of students. The first are the ones that are not literate in their native language. With these students, teacher has to begin at the very beginning with fundamentals of reading and writing. The other kind of students is the ones who literate but their native language is not alphabetic. New symbols have to be created by using hands.

COMPLEXITY: Good writers must be good at some activities like: remove redundancy, combine sentences, make references of other elements in a text, create syntactical and lexical variety.

VOCABULARY: Everything from single greetings to full blown essays, are written by mastering a few dozen of letters and other written symbols. Writers must take advantage of the richness of English vocabulary.

FORMALITY: When students are filling out a questionnaire or they are writing an essay or another kind of writing, they have to follow the conventions to do the task.

Micro skills for Writing

The micros kills used for a successful writing format are:

1. Produce graphemes and orthographic patterns of English.

2. Produce writing at an efficient rate of speed to suit the purpose.

3. Produce an acceptable core of words and use appropriate word order patterns.

4. Use acceptable grammatical systems (e.g. tense, agreement, pluralization) patterns, and rules.

5. Express a particular meaning in different grammatical forms.

6. Use cohesive devices in written discourse.

7. Use the rhetorical forms and conventions of written discourse.

8. Appropriately accomplish the communicative functions of written texts according to form and purpose.

9. Convey links and connections between events and communicate such relations as main idea, supporting idea, new information, given information, generalization, and exemplification.

10. Distinguish between literal and implied meanings when writing.

11. Correctly convey culturally specific references in the context of the written text.

12. Develop and use a battery of writing strategies, such as accurately assessing the audience's interpretation, using pre-writing devices, writing with fluency on first drafts, using paraphrases and synonyms, soliciting peer and instructor feedback, and using feedback for revising and editing.

Types of classroom writing performance

The writing performance of our students in class is unfortunately limited, but we can find a variety of activities to develop during or lessons among the five major categories, which are:




Writing down

Write down English letters, words, and possibly sentences in order to learn conventions of the orthographic code.  Dictations





- Controlled

- Guided

- Dicto-comp  Presentation of paragraphs.

 Asking questions.

 Descriptions.

 Key words in a sequence.


Self writing or writing with only the self in mind as audience.  Note taking.

 Journal

 Dialogue journal



Writing within the school curricular context.  Short answer exercises

 Essays

 Examinations

 Research




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