THE LINGUISTIC AND RHETORICAL ASPECTS OF WRITING IN BILINGUAL EDUCATION
Bilingual education is now practiced in many parts of the world and in many levels of education and how bilingualism may affect the processes of learning and teaching is an issue of great controversy. One area of investigation is the transfer of language skills from the mother tongue (L1) to the Second or foreign language (L2). Led by theoretical frameworks such as Contrastive Linguistics and Contrastive Rhetoric, research aiming at determining L1 writing and L2 writing similarities and differences has a long history in ESL and EFL writing research. Some believe that L1 writing processes are similar to those of L2 while others emphasize the differences of these two processes. This study focused on the linguistic and rhetorical patterns of L1 and L2 writing samples of Iranian EFL learners and aimed to determine possible quantitative differences. For this purpose, an intact university EFL including 30 Iranian EFL learners (F=21, M=9) was selected and the participants were asked to write English and Persian compositions on the same topic in an argumentative style in two separate sessions. These tasks were then holistically scored according to the ESL Composition Profile (Jacobs et. al. 1981) by two expert scorers. The number of words, number of words per sentences, number of spelling errors and number of T-units were also manually counted for both the English and the Persian tasks. The collected data were used to compare and contrast the linguistic and rhetorical patterns of the L1 and L2 writing samples. The results of the study showed that: a) there was a moderate positive correlation (r=0.47 p<0.05) between L1 and L2 writing total scores, b) texts written in L1 were significantly longer than those written in L2, c) L1 writing texts were more complex than L2 writing ones in terms of T-units, d) T-units in texts written in L1 were more than those written in L2, and e) the number of spelling errors in L2 writing samples were higher than those of L1 writing samples. These results were compared to those of similar studies comparing L1 and L2 writing. Implications arising from these findings were also explained.