AN INQUIRY INTO THE INFLUENCES OF L1 CULTURE ON INTERNATIONAL UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS’ L2 WRITING IN CANADIAN POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION

R. Jabeen, M. Myers

Queen's University, Kingston (CANADA)
Research shows that the interaction between the first language (L1) culture and academic English (L2) writing is crucial in the arena of second language writing. In the words of Uysal (2006): “Culture and writing are inextricably connected to each other; thus, [the] native language cultural background deeply influences learning to write in a second language and accordingly the L2 written products” (p. 1). However, the question here is what is native or first language culture? Particularly, in today’s world where most cultural and linguistic boundaries have melted away due to globalization lending to the spread of trade, technology, the entertainment media and the internet, the definition of culture has become increasingly complex and subjective. Globalization also spread English to parts of the world where the language took on local forms that were in turn fed back into the global use resulting in new varieties of Englishes across the world. Therefore, it becomes vitally important to understand about international undergraduate students’ first language cultures and what kind of influences culture has on their academic English writing. Framed by the theories of Intercultural Rhetoric, Critical Contrastive Rhetoric and Glocalization of English Language Use, this study aims to answer the following questions from the perspectives of international undergraduate students:
1. What constitutes the L1 and individual cultures of the international undergraduate students in Canada?
2. How does the L1 culture of the international undergraduate students in Canada influence their academic L2 writing?

The study follows a sequential mixed-methods approach, drawing on a quantitative questionnaire administered to 400 international undergraduate students at one university in Eastern Ontario, Canada, followed by qualitative semi-structured interviews with 20 international undergraduate students as participants. This study will help researcher and academic writing educators to understand the first language culture of the international students and the influences of the first language culture on their English writing.