Cultural Collisions in L2 Academic Writing


  • Linda Steinman



Learning to write in English for academic purposes presents a significant challenge for non-native speakers. Not only must they deal with the obvious linguistic and technical issues such as syntax, vocabulary, and format, but they must also become familiar with Western notions of academic rhetoric. (West or Western in this article refer primarily to North America.) Collisions of cultures are experienced when the discourse practices L2 writers are expected to reproduce clash with what they know, believe, and value in their L1 writing. For this article I reviewed a range of literature that addresses writing and culture. Described by researchers and by L2 writers are collisions regarding voice, organization, reader/ writer responsibility, topic, and identity. Implications for writing pedagogy include awareness of contrastive rhetoric on the part of ESL writing instructors; instructors' acknowledgment of and appreciation for the prior knowledge that students bring from their L1; realization on the part of ESL writing instructors that Western notions of,for example, voice are indeed just notions and are simply one way among many of expressing oneself; and a need for open discussion with students about how they might incorporate standard Western notions of writing without compromising their own identity.




How to Cite

Steinman, L. . . . . . . . . . . (2003). Cultural Collisions in L2 Academic Writing. TESL Canada Journal, 20(2), 80–91.



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