How Computer Mediated Communication Affect Students English Language Essay

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There are many genres in computer-mediated communication which are e-mails, chat-groups and the World Wide Web, etc. CMC is one of the popular forms of written language nowadays. CMC also changes people's way of thinking. The CMC discourse affects students' writing competence in a certain extent. This research discovers the occurrence of CMC discourse in students' writing and how CMC affects their writing competence.

Chapter 1

Introduction

Since the rapid development of Internet and mass media, people are more rely on using Internet and mass media to obtain information. (Flanagin and Metzger, 2000) Internet covers almost all the topic that people know that is an ocean of information. It is much more quickly searching information though the Internet than reading entire books or collections. People exchange data and communicate thought different genres of Internet devices. Internet seems become an inevitable part in education and communication.

Many new formats of media appear, like online forum, instant message program, short message service (SMS), etc. Language maintains social relationship between people, which is a sub-filed of linguistics called sociolinguistics. When new formats of communication appear, language patterns also change to distinguish whether people belongs to the group or not. The wording students use in the Internet will be different from the formal ones. Scholars like Crystal (2001) called the use of computer for communication-- computer mediated communication (CMC). There are asynchronous (delay) communication tools and synchronous (real-time) communication tools in CMC. Electronic mail systems (e-mail), newsgroups and bulletin board system (BBS) are the examples of asynchronous communication tools; instant messaging systems, like MSN Messenger and QQ, are the example of synchronous communication tool.

One of the major advantages of such synchronous CMC is to bring together geographically dispersed students, and add immediacy and increase motivation. Teachers are encouraged to use CMC in their teaching, but the impact of CMC which is affect students' writing competence negatively, especially second language (L2) learners.

Computer equipments are essential in L2 classroom, no matter which level the students are. Writing competence shows students' comprehensive language ability. Most importantly, students use the computer as a learning tool and entertainment in their leisure time. Teachers cannot measure the negative effect that CMC language brings. As students may think that using CMC language is trendy and more fashionable, they tend to use the wording in the Internet and this writing style may affect their formal writing unconsciously.

This research paper investigates how computer-mediated communication affects students' writing competence at Beijing Normal University- Hong Kong Baptist University United International College (UIC).

UIC is the first university that cooperated by Mainland China and Hong Kong. It is a new liberal arts college to serve China and the world.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

The previous chapter has a brief introduction on this research paper.

According to Qin (2010), CMC is multi-dimensional and takes many forms synchronous (participants are on-line at the same time and interactions occur at the same time) or asynchronous (participants need not to be on-line at the same time). CMC can be one-to-one or many-to-many communication. Consider the following figure:

Figure 1 CMC features

From the Figure 1, there are main types of CMC. The forms of CMC may then be classified depending on they are synchronous or not and on the number of participants who are involved in the interactions. The full name of IRC is internet relay chat. According to Jarkko and Darren (1993) "it is a protocol for real-time Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message as well as chat and data transfer." "A MOO is a text-based online virtual reality system to which multiple users (players) are connected at the same time." (Rawn, James, 1995) CMC also characterized of the structures of interaction: one-to-one interaction, one-to-many interaction, and many-to-many interaction. (Qin, 2010) For example, Lee (2002) suggested that " a mailing list like the Linguist List would be and example of one-to-many CMC system, where a message is oftern sent to an unknown group of recipients." According to Beauvois & Eledge (1996), CMC is a channel for synchronous or asynchronous written exchanges which is an excellent facilitator of communication. Swaffar (1998) also said that CMC engages learner more frequently, students have greater confidence and enthusiasm in communicative process.

December (1996) suggested a more comprehensive definition of CMC:

"Internet based, computer-mediated communication involves information exchange that takes place on the global, cooperative collection of networks using the TCP/ IP protocol suite and the client-server model for the data communication. Messages may undergo a range of time and distribution manipulations and encode a variety of media types. The resulting information content exchanged can involve a wide range of symbols people use for communication. "

"Language in Computer-mediated Communication (CMC)" mentioned that CMC means communication between humans using the medium of the computer like e-mail, World-Wide Web, chat rooms (Crystal, 2001). Mobile phone text messaging can also be seen as a variety of CMC, although it does not use a computer as such.

CMC also claimed that there are several notable linguistic features of CMC, such as orthography, vocabulary, grammar, discourse and text, paralinguistics and graphics. CMC demonstrates a mixture of features drawn from prototypically spoken and prototypically written media. Since CMC text-type is more informal, "spoken" style of writing, students may get used to write the informal forms in their assignments. There is a relationship between CMC and writing competence.

According to Wang, CMC has played its irreplaceable role in language teaching classroom especially in collaborative writing. It also brings new challenges on language teaching. Beauvois (1997) found that LAN (local area network) does not only improve the students' writing but also their confidence and general ability to express them. However, LAN is based on the synchronously interaction, it is thus basically a type of oral language rather than formal writing, which according to Beauvois, may also result in better spoken language.

The discourse characteristics that commonly use in CMC language are orthography, vocabulary, grammar, discourse and text and paralinguistics and graphics (Crystal,2001; Ooi, 2002).

Orthography means the informal ("phonetic") spelling, speed-writing (especially with mobile phones) and absence of capitalization (even with pronoun I and proper names). For example, do wot I did; thx 4 ur txt; i'll be over later on in the day. (Crystal,2001; Ooi, 2002)

Vocabulary means informal wording, use of injections and use of "in"-terms and abbreviations, like ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing), IMHO (in my humble opinion and LOL (laugh out loud). There are also formal abbreviations, for instances DNS (domain name system), BBS (bulletin board system and BBC (blind carbon copy). (Crystal,2001; Ooi, 2002)

Grammar means "telegraphic" language and multiple coordination/ subordination in sequence. For example, Have forwarded the N e-mail. (Crystal,2001; Ooi, 2002)

Discourse and text mean the use of interaction features (e.g. questions), "stream of consciousness" writing, message-comment structures in e-mail and hypertext. (Crystal,2001; Ooi, 2002)

Paralinguistics and graphics mean spaced letters. Multiple letters, alternative markers for emphasis ("!!!!!", "$%^&%$#"), capitalization, little or "excessive" punctuation, emoticons ("WOOOOOW", "hahahaha"). (Crystal,2001; Ooi, 2002)

Research Question: How CMC language affects students' writing competence?

The next chapter outlines the methodology of data collection and analysis this research.

Chapter 3

Methodology

In the previous chapter, the literature review stated that there are different characters of computer mediated communication discourse, like lexicon, graphology and orthography.

In this research, a quasi-experiment was used to investigate the possible characteristics of CMC in students' writing. Achen (1986) stated that "Quasi-experiments are something other than a random sample of the relevant population with random assignment to treatment and control groups." Although quasi-experiment is not a real experiment that can show the accurate result from control group and experimental group, it still has its necessity in this research. Achen (1986) pointed out that sue to randomization may be physically, economically or politically impossible and controlled field trials may be impossible, quasi-experiment is necessary used in research. Firstly, people sometimes cannot fully measure all the factors causing a result, so it is necessary to based on quasi-experimental evidence. Secondly, "the assignment to experimental and control groups must be taken as fixed, and all hope of randomization abandoned." (Achen, 1986)

Pretest and posttest are another methodology that used in this research, showing the relationship between students' writing competence and computer-mediated communication discourse.

Group

Time

Exp

O

X

O

Cnt

O

N

O

(O= observation or measure; X= treatment; N= no treatment)

Firgure2: Pretest and Postest

From Figure2 (Yan, 2012), "if change from pre- to post-test for treatment group and not for control group (or not as much), change can be attributed to the treatment) assuming proper experimental controls)"

Teachers face difficulties in enhancing students' writing competence, especially the vocabulary and grammar rules. New mass media, like mobile phones and the Internet, are used in communicate the messages through network and those media change the language style a lot for people to fit in the Internet needs. (Bennett, 2003) The Internet brings a huge freedom on writing for students (Liu, n.d.), students not only using CMC discourse in daily communication, but also in their works. Teachers take writing competence as the most seriously compare to other competence, however CMC discourse brings certain negative effect on students. (Liu, n.d.)

According to Liu (n.d.), the Internet is a double edge sword. It brings a lot of convenience, but also traps those immature students. If students addicted on surfing the Net and chatting through different synchronic response tools (like ICQ, MSN), they neglect the classic readings since these readings are not as interesting as CMC discourse. Writing competence is not only including using correct grammar, right word choice, but also including the correct and healthy values that students express. It is an influential way to promote negative values through Internet. Students' writing competence can not be improved if they keep influenced by CMC discourse. In the chapter of literature review, lexicon, graphology and orthography are the three main characters of CMC discourse. The research is based on these characters to analysis students' writing competence when they start engaging with English CMC discourse.

This research may help teacher to find out the relationship between writing and help them to figure out a balance between CMC discourse and writing competence. Some teachers may overuse the Internet in their teaching, and bring negative effects to their students. The findings of my study may also contribute to raising both teachers and students' awareness of using computer mediated communication.

3.1 Background information of the targets

There are eight targets in this research, who are all Year 1 students come from the major of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) in Beijing Normal University- Hong Kong Baptist University United International College (UIC). As the entrance requirements of English score is higher than other major in UIC, which requires 110 out of 150 in China's college entrance examination (Gaokao). All the targets scored the minimum marks in their English Gaokao, which illustrated their original English competence better than some other students in UIC. The researcher gives the subjects a list of selected CMC discourse that is commonly used in chat rooms, texting and BBS. (Appendix1) After they know CMC, they need to write a 100-word essay every week. There is not limitation on their writing topics. The whole experiment lasts about a month.

This research also aims at helping them adapt a totally new learning environment which is using English as the medium of instruction. UIC is a liberal arts school and uses English as the medium of instruction. It is much difficult for TESL Year 1 students to adapt; due to there are many linguistics terms and higher requirements on writing competence.

3.2 Data collection

The subjects were TESL Year 1 students who have little influence by the Internet, so the research finding will be more accurate. It is because the enclosed education system in China, students are not allowed to leave high schools except weekends. As the new <Education Act> and <Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Minors> released, teacher is responsible for not only teaching but also for students' personal safety. One of the researches said that the most effective ways to ensure students safety is not allowed them leave the campus without permission and abandon other extra curriculum activities. The only thing students can do in the campus is study hard so many of them do not have chance to surf the Net in Chinese, let alone English.

There are eight participants joint this experiment. Both data from pre test and post test are also needed in the research. According to Dimitrov, and Rumrill (2003), pretest-posttest are widely used in behavioral research, which aim to comparing groups and/ or measuring changes from the experimental treatments. A quasi-experiment will be conducted because it is difficult to do a full experiment, since we cannot find a group of people who have never touch the Internet to be the control group. Also there are some other reasons that can affect students' writing competence.

Organize pretest-posttest control group design which allows researcher to control the variable of time and maturation. In most schools and classrooms, random selection is not possible. The groups of participants are nonequivalent, so their characteristics are different too. It is better to do quasi-experiment to avoid threat validity. Johnson (2008) mentioned that "validity is the degree to which a thing measures what it reports to measure".

3.3 Data Coding Scheme and Instrumentation

A coding scheme was created from the literature review of CMC language characteristics, which stating the categories of CMC. The scheme included three different levels; they are lexicon level, graphology level and orthography level. On the lexicon level, there are neologisms (new words), abbreviations (short forms), acronyms (formal short forms) and rebuses (combination with numbers and letters). (Crytal, 2001) On the graphology level, there are change words to numbers (use "1" instead of "one") and punctuation (use more than one punctuation marks to express emotions). On the orthography level, there are paralinguistics cues (for example "hahaha") The research is based on these characters to analysis students' writing. There is a evaluate sheet (Appendix 3) that used to count how many times does these properties appear in students' writings.

Marking the maximum frequency of each properties exit in the writings, finding out the mean and standard deviation of the frequency are the ways to show the data. Mean has three related meanings in statistics, the arithmetic means of a sample, the expected value of a random variable and the mean of a probability distribution. (Feller, 1950) The mean on the evaluation sheet is the arithmetic mean, which is equal to the sum of the values divided by the number of values. (Feller, 1950) Standard deviation shows how much variation exists from the mean. A high standard deviation illustrates the data points spreading out over a large range of values; a low standard deviation illustrates the data points are very close to the mean. In other words, higher standard deviation the category has the more effect on that category from CMC discourse.

3.4 Data Analysis

The research question explored how CMC discourse affected students' writing competence. The subjects should write one free writing a week, and last a month (they should write four writings in total). There are no topic restricts, they can write any topic they like. The first step is to find out the actual CMC discourse occurrence in their first writing. Then giving subjects some selected CMC discourse, those words are commonly use in chat room, texting and BBS. Asking subjects to write a 100-word essay in the following four weeks, aim at observe how CMC affect writing competence. The aim of the writing is looking into are there any CMC discourse occur in their writing after the researcher give the material to them. Find out the relationship between CMC and students' writing competence. Some of the subjects were interviewed in an informal way, like chatting through QQ (a famous synchronic chatting tool in China).

The first step was reading and rereading students' writings. During the reading and revising the metacommunicative vocabulary should be paid attention to, which indicated how CMC discourse affects their writing competence. According to Xia (2006), the metacommunicative vocabulary is the language that subjects used to talk about their language use in communication. For example, subjects used different short forms in their writing that stated out the importance of shorten their writing time. In their point of view, short forms are their metacommunication vocabulary.

3.5 Result

After coding, all occurrences of CMC discourse have been calculated according to subjects' writings. Each subject included one pretest writing and three posttest writings, in total was four. Due to it took time to wait for the effect; the quasi-experiment lasted about a month. Table 1 is the summary of frequencies of CMC discourse in subject's writings in week 1, which is the pretest.

CMC Discourse

Maximum Frequency

Mean

Standard Deviation

Lexicon Level

Neologisms

0

0

---

Abbreviations

6

0.75

2.12

Acronyms

1

0.125

0.35

Rebuses

0

0

---

Graphology Level

Change words to numbers

0

0

---

Punctuation

0

0

---

Orthography Level

Paralinguistic cues

1

0.125

0.35

Table 1: CMC Discourse in Subjects' Writings in Week 1 (N=8)

From Table 1, the highest maximum frequency was using abbreviations in one subjects' writing. Neologisms, rebuses, change words to numbers and punctuation were not found in subjects' writing. It was the subjects' writing from Week 1. The result was not out of exception, since the eight subjects have no understanding about CMC discourse. In most of the writings from Week 1, there was no CMC discourse. Correspond with their past lifestyle that they said in informal interview through QQ that lived in an enclosed education system.

CMC Discourse

Maximum Frequency

Mean

Standard Deviation

Lexicon Level

Neologisms

0

0

---

Abbreviations

5

2.5

1.92

Acronyms

0

0

---

Rebuses

0

0

---

Graphology Level

Change words to numbers

1

0.125

0.35

Punctuation

4

1

1.41

Orthography Level

Paralinguistic cues

0

0

---

Table 2: CMC Discourse in Subjects' Writings in Week 2 (N=8)

From Table 2, the highest maximum frequency was using abbreviations in one subjects' writing. Neologisms, acronyms, rebuses, punctuation and paralinguistic cues were not found in subjects' writing. For the subjects, abbreviation is the easiest category to handle and reduce their time on dropping notes during the class. Therefore, the category of abbreviation has the maximum frequency in Week 2.

CMC Discourse

Maximum Frequency

Mean

Standard Deviation

Lexicon Level

Neologisms

0

0

---

Abbreviations

7

2.63

2.97

Acronyms

1

0.25

0.46

Rebuses

0

0

---

Graphology Level

Change words to numbers

8

1

2.83

Punctuation

6

1.75

2.55

Orthography Level

Paralinguistic cues

0

0

---

Table 3: CMC Discourse in Subjects' Writings in Week 3 (N=8)

From Table 3, the highest maximum frequency was changing words to numbers in one subjects' writing. Neologisms, rebuses and paralinguistic cues were not found in subjects' writing. In Week 3, the data has a little bit different with Week 2. The maximum frequency in subjects' writings still was abbreviations. As mentioned in the literature review, abbreviations mean the informal short form, like BTW (by the way). Since using abbreviations can shorten their time in writing, the subjects preferred abbreviations. Some of the abbreviations are not on the list; they searched for extra abbreviations on themselves. CMC discourse was a totally new issue for the Year 1 students in TESL.

CMC Discourse

Maximum Frequency

Mean

Standard Deviation

Lexicon Level

Neologisms

0

0

---

Abbreviations

10

3.63

3.07

Acronyms

2

0.25

0.71

Rebuses

0

0

---

Graphology Level

Change words to numbers

2

0.25

0.71

Punctuation

3

1.25

1.49

Orthography Level

Paralinguistic cues

0

0

---

Table 4: CMC Discourse in Subjects' Writings in Week 4 (N=8)

From Table 4, the highest maximum frequency was using abbreviations in one subjects' writing. Neologisms, rebuses and paralinguistic cues were not found in subjects' writing. This was the last posttest writing for the subjects. The subjects adapted the formal writing style in their English class, so their writing became more academic than the first week. Some of them would create their own CMC discourses, which was not on the list that the researcher gave them. The subjects started to handle the rules of CMC discourse.

The research question explored how CMC discourse affected students' writing competence. This question is related to whether CMC discourse occurred in their writings. Analysis of the informal interview data discovered different ways that CMC discourse affected students' writing competence, such as use abbreviation of everything in writing and peer pressure.

Use abbreviation of everything in writing. Most of the subjects said that the most direct effect on CMC discourse was started to use abbreviation. Since when they were in high school, their English teacher told them to remember as much vocabulary as they can. If they recite more vocabulary than others, they had the advantage to enter university. Therefore, they had never experienced using abbreviation before, and surely did not understand the situation in UIC--spelling is not the most important issue in study. In UIC, students who could handle the academic knowledge and express their own constructive opinion would be success. Note dropping is one of the key elements to absorb academic knowledge through the lectures, so the category of abbreviation has been used at maximum frequency in three weeks out of four. There is a Chinese saying "Once you form a habit, it becomes natural to you." All subjects realized the difference between CMC discourse and academic, however they cannot avoid of using CMC discourse when they write. They write their heart by their hands directly, without the second thought and double check before handed the writing in. One of the subjects explained the situation that using abbreviation in the writing, "It seems that using abbreviation become my habit, no matter on writing drafts or drop notes. The short form of the words comes out naturally."

Peer pressure is another reason cause CMC discourse affects students' writing competence. The eight subjects in this research paper would communicate with each other, and discuss how much CMC discourse they used in the writing. They take this research as a competition in a certain extend. As the researcher interviewed them in informal way, the subjects showed a sense of competitiveness toward others. They thought that the one who could utilize CMC discourse well would be the winner in the "competition" they have imagine. One of the subjects said that "I can lose my face on using CMC discourse. I can defeat the others, as my English is better than others."

The data indicated that the effect of CMC discourse nearly became their writing habit. The data also figured out that peer pressure also affect the frequency of using CMC discourse. The most directly effect of CMC discourse in students' writing competence was abbreviations, for instance using informal short forms, like govt. (government) and edu. (education).

The next chapter will discuss some limitations of this research and suggest some ways to improve this research.

Chapter 4

Discussion

The research explored how CMC discourse affects students' writing competence. According to the informal interview, CMC discourse had a big impact on their writings. The language transforms with the technology development and ways of thinking in different cultural stages. (Ong, 1967, 1982) According to Ong (1967), there are three stages in the development of cultures: oral-aural, script and electronic stage. All these stages showed the transformation of language. Ong noticed that when language transforms, it will change the way of thinking. Therefore, the ways of thinking changed were reflected in the use of language when people communicate to each other. CMC discourse, as a new format of communication, changes the way of thinking and traditional communication. Form the result of this research, the frequency of using abbreviation affects the subjects' writing competence. Due the existence of CMC discourse brought a great impact in their thinking ways, which is a totally new concept to the subjects.

There are two controversial arguments in CMC; (i) CMC has brought negative effects and challenges to standard of language, which affect students' writing competence indirectly; (ii) CMC existed as a new form of language and literacy. (Crystal, 2001)

If one can handle both languages which use in daily life and standard language, this would be the best situation. No one would worry about how CMC affect students' writing competence, but it is impossible for the one unacted on CMC. The problem is the gap between standard language and language change. New form of a language would be standardizing if most people evolving and changing the usage in this way.

Due to the limitation of time and resources, this research may not reflect the true effect that CMC language brings to students' writing. In their work, it was hard to examine precisely the effect of CMC language. Their original writing competence and English ability may also affect the performance in the writing. Different subjects have vary ability of absorb information, so some subjects may not accept new knowledge in a short period of time. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the English ability of the eight subjects is quite good when they enter UIC. Before they enter the university, they would have a three-month-holiday; most of them would not pay attention to the academic knowledge. Especially, languages, like English, Chinese, need an environment and time to improve. They need time to catch up the language skills and adapt to a difference learning environment.

Using students' writings may not get the precise result on how CMC affect their writing competence. The result would be more persuasive if comparing their free-style writing than academic writing, sees how much CMC exists in their works. Since the subjects know the researcher expect from them, they would pretend they have influenced by CMC. In the future research, students' free writing would have more significant results on the research question.

On the other hand, this research just focused on linguistics aspects. If it is possible, the research could include different aspects, like the level of meaning and social interaction. The research would be more all-rounded if there are different aspects. The research lasted about a month, which was too short for getting a persuasive result. If the research could last longer, maybe last for a semester, the result would be more convictive.

In future study, the experiment should last longer to show more accurate result.

The next chapter summaries findings reported in the thesis and discuss possible implications of this research.

Chapter 5

Conclusion

The previous chapter has discussed some limitations of this research and suggested some ways to improve this research.

This section summarized the findings of this research. The research question is "How CMC affect students' writing competence in UIC." The tables in Chapter 3 shows the changes of use CMC before and after the subjects receive the list of CMC. The frequency of using CMC has increased obviously, especially in using abbreviations. Since using abbreviations in their note could shorten their time and easier for them to catch up what the teachers talking about during the lectures.

There is a negative effect on students' writing competence after they engage to CMC language. They can use those selected CMC to drop notes in the future. The ability of drop notes has enhanced. The research also found out that students' English competence also affect their writing competence.

Chapter 6

Reference

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Chapter 7

Appendices

Appendix 1- Selected CMC language

2 = to/too

4 = for

4ever = forever

ASAP = As Soon As Possible

B4 = Before

BF = Boyfriend

BTW = By The Way

Cam = Web Camera

CU = See You

DL = Download

F2F/FTF = Face To Face

G2G = Got To Go

GTG = Got To Go

G8T/GR8 = Great

GF = girlfriend

GDGD = Good,Good

GL = Good Luck

IC = I See

ILY = I Love You

IMO = In My Opinion

IOW = In Other Words

J/K = Just Kidding!

J/W = Just Wondering

K/KK = OK/OK, OK

KX = kiss

KIT = Keep In Touch

L8R = Later

LD = Long Distance

LOL = Laughing Out Loud/Lots Of Luck(Love)

LTNS = Long Time No See

MorF = Male or Female?

MYOB = Mind Your Own Business

N = And/Know/Now

NBD = No Big Deal

NM = Never Mind

NMP = Not My Problem

NOYB = None Of Your Business

NP = No Problem

OBTW = Oh, By The Way

OIC = Oh, I See

OICU = Oh, I See You

OMG = Oh My God/Oh My Gosh

Pic = Picture

PLS/PLZ = Please

POV = Point Of View

PPL = People

Pro = Professional

PS = By The Way/Photoshop

R = Are

R U = Are You?

THX/TX/THKS = Thanks

TY = Thank You

TYVM = Thank You Very Much

U = You

UR = Your

U R = You are

VG = Very Good

WtE = Whatever

Wt = What

WTF = What The F

WYP = What's Your Problem?

WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get

X U = Kiss You

Y = Why

Ya = You

Yep/Yup = Yes

happy bday=happy b-day=happy birthday

dunno=dont know

plz=please

ttyl=talk to you later

b/c=cuz=because

w/=with

w/o=without

sry=sorry

Appendix 2 - Students' writings

Subject 1

W1

In the modern society, as the development of biotechnology, the problem of infertility can be solved by so many ways. One of these ways, surrogate motherhood, is the most controversial way. Nowadays, although out mind is becoming much more open, surrogate motherhood is still impacted the traditional birth ideas of a great part of people. One thing should be dine now is to make surrogate motherhood be included in legislation. The purpose to make surrogate motherhood be legal is: to solve the custody issues; to provide a legal basis for the protection of surrogate mothers' rights and to provide a legal basis between the children and surrogate mothers.

W2

It is true that parents hv power to decide who their children marry. As parents raise their children to this day, and children hv to listen to parents advice. When children want to marry sb, it means that one new member will take part in their home. So parents hv power to decide who could join them, not only children decide this. Moreover, parents hv much experience than children, so the marriage which were decided by parents will be much more safety and hard. Parents can help children to recognize that the man is good or bad.

W3

6 respondents r interviewed in UIC. All the respondents r between 17 -19. one respondent is 17 and also one is 19. 4 respondents r 18. all the respondents r f, & Y1 students. A one-page questionnaire was used during the interviews.

W4

When he woke up the next morning, Jimmy was on an island which did not hv anybody there. Jimmy found that he was on a deserted island. He X hv nth only a suit of clothes and a broken boat. He tried to find sth to eat, but wt he found only some fruit. He was hungry & very cold. After some days, he opened the boxes which he found on the 1st & 2nd day. He used the things in the boxes to find sth useful.

Subject 2

W1

Tropical deforestation increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and makes the greenhouse effect much more terrible. The concern of tropical deforestation should be decreased with the purpose of stopping it. Scientists pointed out that the tropical deforestion increases the amount of carbon more than fossil fuel combustion does. And the tropical forests can control the amount of carbon in atmosphere. Thus, it has considerable value to protect the tropical foresrs by human beings and makes tropical forests gives gull scope to control the carbon greatly.

W2

The student dormitory union at UIC held a petition called "Every day minus a kilowatt-hour" As the UIC newspaper reported that UIC had used an excessive amount of electricity in the past time. Since the quantities of coal & oil are decreasing very quickly. Saving electricity is not only concerns UIC, but also the earth. The purpose of this activity was to appeal to UIC students to save electricity. The most useful method for UIC students to do is to form a habit of turning off the appliances when students leave the classrooms.

W3

When you hv a male fd, you can share with him when you are sad, happy or angry. You can tell him everything that happened to you or you saw before. However, you will find that when you r in trouble, your male fd will not help you in a soft way as your female fds, and some of them will help you in a violent way. You will also find that your make fd are not as careful as your female fds. They are a little negligent. Also, your male fds will feel much stronger and not as easy to be moved sometimes.

W4

School should hv sex education classes is that schools hv a responsibility to teach Ss correct sex knowledge during the Ss' school life. Public schools are the places to give Ss correct knowledge which that they do not know before or hv curiosity about. Sex is a new and mysterious thing which is talked about on TV or adults and with the development of Internet, children can easily receive some wrong info. About sex. When public schools hv sex education classes, Ss will know about sex in a correct way and will avoid sth that is bad for their health.

Subject 3

W1

Nowadays, the sessions of NPC and CPPCC are held in Beijing. In the conference, Wen announces that the government will spend 2000 billion yuan in the area of education ,which means that the expense in education will be up to 4% of the whole nation's GDP. Many people argue that whether it should be put and what about the reward? My thesis statement is that I think it is a great idea because it means that the government absolutely focus on the educational problems, and it can make a good chance for those who can not afford to the education.

W2

Smoking is very harmful to our health, but lots of ppl do not care about this. Some ppl may think smoking will not make them addicted, taking a cigarette as a way of relaxing when they live with high pressure, but they do not know it can cause many diseases. It is wrong that many ppl think that smoking will not make them addicted. The most harmful ingredient in cigarette is Nicotine. Scientist found that only 0.5mg Nicotine can make ppl addicted and each cigarette contains about 0.1-0.4mg Nicotine, so it is impossible to control yourself if you always smoke.

W3

Nowadays, almost everyone has their own mobile phones, lots of children or Ss r not exceptions. Mobile phones r widespread, however, it has lots of disadvantages. AAR of playing mobile in a long time for adolescent, they will hv effect on their health and studies, even some adolescents use mobile phones to defraud ppl. Some adolescents often use their mobile phones to sd messages, play games and surf the internet. As a result of this, Ss who are absent-minded cannot catch what Ts taught. At last, they get the horrible marks.

W4

The price of apartment has ↑ a lot since 2006. Many ppl just fight for their house and limited by the contemporary salary. Taking BJ as an example , in 2011,the average price of the apartment price was up to ¥30989 per square meter, which means that if you want to buy a apartment which is 100 square meters, you need to pay for 3,098,900 yuan. In 2011, the average salary in BJ was 4495.33yuan, which means it is impossible to buy an apartment as a common worker. The population in China is very large and lands are lack. Secondly, lots of developers join hand with the govt and make the prices monopoly. Last, lots of rich ppl buy lots of apartments as investment.

Subject4

W1

Recently, there are many comments about death penalty. Most of people support abolished Death Penalty because of it is a part of severe system which has some social costs and some shortage. It can save human resources, is a part of innocence Protection, protect human rights and development the punish ways. Abolish the death penalty not only benefit for people themselves but also benefit for society.

W2

As ppl all know youth suicide hv bad effects. Firstly, youth suicide will bring the crushing to the family, now days, most Chinese family only hv 1 child, and the parent try their best to give their best thing to their children, if the kid suicide, the parent will get emotional injury and difficult to recover. The harm effect is also a big loss of the competent ppl for society. According to World Health Organization's estimate, the social economic loss related to the youth suicide is up to several billion dollars. So solve this problem is necessary.

W3

There is a constant interaction between human beings & the environment we live in. As time goes by, environmental problems caused by various reasons such as population growth, unreasonable utilization of resources, the view of one-sided development & so on. With society developing, science and technology progressing, ppl hv ↑concern about environmental problems in recent years. A series of available measures hv been taken by many countries all over the globe; but unfortunately, there r so many alarming and serious problems wait to be solved about environmental problems.

W4

Those who agree "college graduates should study abroad" might say that it has being a kind of trend. Perhaps, they just want to gratify their vanity. Opponents of this idea claim that though it is a developing trend these years, studying abroad is not suitable for all college Ss obviously. It is restricted by various factors, such as economy, major and language. So, college graduates and parents must reconsider carefully.

Subject 5

W1

One obvious difference is the materials. Ancient architecture builds the buildings with stone, brick, wood and other natural materials, such as the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. In contrast, modern architecture uses the materials of steel, iron, glass and other chemical synthesis materials. Almost the buildings in modern cities, are made of these and few of them use the ancient materials

W2

In some respects, blogging affects journalism seriously. It can get attention from public through clarifying the facts that journalism is reluctant to tell ppl and pointing out wrong views in journalism. Moreover, blogging can point out carelessness and mistakes of bad journalism and correct them. Furthermore, it provides personal viewpoints and particular topics that journalism may not concern in order to make journalism develop better.

W3

Antarctic where is the plentiful source of cold on our planet, exerts enormous control on our climate. Both the surface water and our atmosphere can be helped to be cooled by Antarctic upwelling with its cold ocean water flowing north to mix with warmer water in tropics. However, human activity still intimidates the vulnerability of this regulating system.

W4

One of the causes of poverty in China is illiteracy. The ppl who hv more knowledge would create more wealth. If a person does not hv higher edu. , it is difficult for him to understand and master new technologies and new concepts of production, lifestyles; it is difficult to resist feudal superstition, bad culture and fallacies of the infringement; it is also difficult to cope with the challenges in international market.

Subject 6

W1

Globalization is creating a global economy and excitement and enthusiasm that we had never seen decades ago, caused economic malign competition which is inevitable at all, so, it is hard to avoid the view of one-sided development. A branch of the view of one-sided development is low population quality. Moreover, the number of Chinese farmers is more than 60% approximately, and they cannot accept good education and do not have enough environmental awareness to make efforts on environmental protection.

W2

Along with the development of globalization & being shaped by global governance idea, global civil society is gradually springing up. A growing amount of Asia especially Chinese college Ss are willing to study abroad, even some primary school Ss. However, is it really a wise choice for most of college Ss?

Most of graduates and parents think that foreign universities must be better than Chinese universities. After seeing this evidence, there is no way we can agree with what they say. A lot of excellent native universities are in China. With the Chinese economy developing, Chinese education must get significant progress.

W3

In the storybook, we can get that she is a very comical character who goes to the market in her giant, mill wheel-like hat, dressed in a full-length evening gown and with huge green rosettes on her shoes. She has also applied charcoal to her eyebrows & coated her mouth & nails with red paint. Nevertheless, this role is kind, enthusiastic & adventurous enough; moreover, she gives most women & girls in Sweden even all over the globe courage & passion to defend their dignity, right & freedom immensely.

W4

The ageing population is a phenomenon that occurs when the median age of a country or region rises due to rising life expectancy and/or declining birth rates. There is a serious social issue of an ageing population in developed countries. However, in some developing countries, like China, the phenomenon of ageing population begins to appear because of the one-child policy & economic growth. As a consequence, financial deficits, social pressures, & individual problems occur, impacting the development of China for a long time.

Subject 7

W1

With society developing, science & tech. progressing, ppl hv more and more concern about environmental problems in recent years. A series of available measures hv been taken by many countries all over the globe; but unfortunately, there are so many alarming and serious problems wait to be solved about environmental problems. Despite all that, govts. , orgs. even individuals should adopt measures helpful to ease environmental conflicts ASAP.

W2

The Road Not Taken is obvious that it is about the similar topic "choose" which people must face it every day. It describes an image that the author got into a wood & he must choose one of two roads to move on, finally, he chose a way which is less traveled by. It is easy to discover that "roads in wood" are representative symbols in this poetry & the roads of wood just the roads of life. Different roads decide different lives.

W3

Promoting democratization is the most convictive point of view among all existent rationality, the reason why is that citizens could influence the govt. policies deeply and widely via the tremendous power of the freedom of speech. Another statement concludes that the dynamism of public opinion is a kind of reaction of democratization's degree; and that depends on the openness' degree of the freedom of speech. Without doubt, it is absolutely necessary to develop freedom of speech.

W4

The sex radio in China is the highest in the world. If it is not solved well, it will lead a lot of social problems. Gender imbalance should be considered seriously & put on the schedule. To solve this problem, it is necessary to change traditional view & take measures against knowing the baby gender before the birth. Besides, govt. should improve and perfect the market economic structure & employment envir. to build up people's confidence to give birth to girls.

Subject 8

W1

Left-behind children are those who were left in the countryside, whose parents leave home for other places far away for making life. Parents leave their children to grandparents or relatives who cannot take good care of them or leave them alone. These parents do great contribution to the social development. But it also brings some social problems which attract our attention and are hard to ignore. These series of problems about left-behind children are due to being less care, poor family condition and less social care.

W2

Many ppl argue that human body should be complete when a person dies, they X donate organ even though it would help save others life. They think that it shows disrespect to the human body. It is on account of ppl's little knowing about organ donation & the limitation of traditional convention. Organ donation should be encouraged & advocated that it gives others hope to continue life & help medical research which is important to the human career. But the fact is ppl know little about it.

W3

Nowadays, the behavior of homosexuality gets really easier approval than before. Anyway, this social phenomenon reflects that our society is developing, & cultural diversity is enhancing & people' thoughts get more & more open now. However, homosexuality must take some trouble, such as problems of human reproduction & social instability, etc. Ppl must know & face these phenomenon and problems.

W4

The embarrassing situation should take ppl's attention. It is too late to know the knowledge of sex the moment getting married. Sex education in school and home is needed. Ppl should not be so shy to mention the topic of sex. Moreover, Ss should know some knowledge about sex and choose good safety measure before hving sex. If being pregnant, ppl should be responsible for the little new life.

Appendix 3 - Evaluation Sheet

Lexicon Level

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

S8

Maximum frequency

Mean

Standard Deviation

Neologisms

Abbreviations

Acronyms

Rebuses

Graphology Level

Use digits into Arabic numbers

Punctuation

Orthography Level

Paralinguistic Cues

Appendix 4-FYP Proposal

FYP Proposal

Project title: How Computer Mediated Communication Affect Students' Grammatical Competence in UIC.

Name of student: Cathy Tang

Student ID: 0931100083

Supervisor: Dr. Dave Towey

Date of submission:2012/05/11

Statement of the Problem

Since the rapid development of Internet and mass media, students are more rely on using Internet and mass media to obtain information. It is good for them in certain extent, because students can keep in touch with the language that we use in our daily life. Therefore, what they acquire would fit in a native style. Many new formats of media appear, like online forum, instant message program, SMS, etc. There is an intimate relationship between language and society, when new formats of communication appear, language patterns also change. The wording students use in the Internet will be different from the formal ones. Scholars like Crystal (2001) called the use of computer for communication computer mediated communication (CMC). One of the major advantages of such synchronous CMC is to bring together geographically dispersed students, and add immediacy and increase motivation. Teachers are encouraged to use CMC in their teaching, but CMC brings out a big trouble which is affect students' grammatical competence negatively, especially second language (L2) learners.

Computer equipments are essential in L2 classroom, no matter which level the students are. Writing competence shows students' comprehensive language ability. Most importantly, students use the computer as a learning tool and entertainment in their leisure time. Teachers cannot measure the negative effect that CMC language brings. As students may think that using CMC language is trendy and more fashionable, they tend to use the wording in the Internet and this writing style may affect their formal writing unconsciously.

Research Questions/ hypotheses

In this study, I would like to investigate whether or not computer mediated communication language affects students' writing competence negatively. This includes whether students may distinguish those languages very well when they writing formally and avoid using CMC language. Writing competence in my study is confined to students writing coherently and cohesively.

I make a hypothesis on this research question:

Computer mediated communication language brings negative effect on students' writing competence.

CMC means communication between humans using the medium of the computer like e-mail. There are several notable linguistic features which can affect students' grammar competence. Grammatical competence is the ability to recognize and produce the distinctive grammatical structures of a language and to use them effectively in communication (SIL International, 1999)

Significance of the Study

Teachers face difficulties of enhancing students' writing competence, especially the vocabulary and grammar rules. New mass media appear, people change the language style a lot to fit in the Internet needs. Students also are the users of Internet, they may influence by those informal writing style. I hope this research may help teacher to find out the relationship between writing and help them to find a balance between computer mediated communication and writing competence.

Based on my hypothesis, there will be negative effect on students' writing competence. Some teachers may overuse the Internet in their teaching, and bring negative effect on their students unconsciously. The findings of my study may also contribute to raising their awareness of using computer mediated communication. For example, asking students to write emails in formal style, instead of write in any style they like. I also hope teachers use technology properly and change the negative effects to positive ones.

Literature Review

What is Computer Mediated Communication (CMC)?

According to Qin (2010), CMC is multi-dimensional and takes many forms wither synchronous (participants are on-line at the same time and interactions occur at the same time) or asynchronous (participants need not to be on-line at the same time). CMC can be one-to-one or many-to-many communication.

From the figure, the forms of CMC may be classified depending on whether or not they are synchronous and on the number of participants who are involved in the interactions.

"Language in Computer -Mediated Communication (CMC)" mentioned that CMC means communication between humans using the medium of the computer like e-mail, World-Wide Web, chat rooms. Mobile phone text messaging can also be seen as a variety of CMC, although it does not use a computer as such.

"Language in Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)" also claimed that there are several notable linguistic features of CMC, such as orthography, vocabulary, grammar, discourse and text, paralinguistics and graphics. CMC demonstrates a mixture of features drawn from prototypically spoken and prototypically written media. Since CMC text-type is more informal, "spoken" style of writing, students may get used to write informal forms in their assignments. Therefore, I want to find out the relationship between CMC and writing competence.

According to Wang, CMC has played its irreplaceable role in language teaching classroom especially in collaborative writing. It also brings new challenges on language teaching. Beauvois (1997) found that LAN (local area network) does not only improve the students' writing but also their confidence and general ability to express them. However, LAN is based on the synchronously interaction, it is thus basically a type of oral language rather than formal writing, which according to Beauvois, may also result in better spoken language.

Notable linguistic features of CMC

1. Orthography

It means the informal ("phonetic") spelling, speed-writing (especially with mobile phones) and absence of capitalization (even with pronoun I and proper names).

For example, do wot I did; thx 4 yr txt; i'll be over later on in the day

2. Vocabulary

It means informal wording, use of interjections and use of "in"-terms and abbreviations (like BTW, ROTEL, PTB).

3. Grammar

It means "telegraphic" language and multiple coordination/ subordination in sequence.

For example, Have forwarded the N e-mail.

4. Discourse and Text

It means use of interaction features (e.g. questions), "stream of consciousness" writing, message-comment structures in e-mail and hypertext.

5. Paralinguistics and Graphics

It means spaced letters, multiple letters, alternative markers for emphasis, capitalization, little or "excessive" punctuation, emoticons.

Research Design and Approach

I will conduct a quasi-experiment on a group of university Year 1 students to investigate target participants will be in UIC. I would like to focus on TESL freshman next semester, because their English score from the National Extrance Exam for Universities (Gaokao) is higher than other freshman. As the same time, they have little influence by the Internet, because students must live in the campus in most of the high school in mainland China, and they have limited time to keep in touch with the Internet. This may make my research findings more accurate.

The numbers of participants will not be more than 10, since I want to do the research deeply for each of them. I would like to collect their English score both from Gaokao and UIC. Understanding their background information is useful for my research. Both data from pre test and post test are also needed in my research. A quasi-experiment will be conducted because it is difficult to do a full experiment, since we cannot find a group of people who have never touch the Internet to be the control group. Also there are some other reasons that can affect students' writing competence.

Data Collection

My aim for the research is to find out the effect that CMC brings to grammatical competence. Being a student TA for TESL will be one of the best ways to collect data. Doing quasi-experiment is the other way to collect data from my subjects. I would organize pretest-posttest control group design. This allows me to control for the variable of time and maturation. In most schools and classrooms, random selection is not possible. The groups of participants are nonequivalent, so their characteristics are different too. It is better to do quasi-experiment to avoid threat validity. Johnson (2008) mentioned that "validity is the degree to which a thing measures what it reports to measure".

My study may include two achievement tests, one checklist for writing. The two achievement tests include grammar review and essay writing sections.

Data Analysis

In my quasi-experiment, there will be no control group because it is hard to find objectives that have no connection to the Internet. I would organize grammatical test and several writing task for my objectives. For the grammatical test, the aim is to understand their grammatical competence. I would ask my subjects to hand write the writing task, avoiding them to use any tools to correct their work. When I collect their work from both pretest and posttest, I would mainly analyze their grammatical mistake and are there any CMC language features in their writing.

Timeline

June, 2012

Doing the literature review to find more relative research on my topic. Make the final decision on what I am going to do with the objects.

July,2012

Preparing the grammar test and writing test. Also prepare the materials that I am going to show CMC to the subjects. Since I have to do something between pre-test and pro-test.

August, 2012

Start writing the outline of the whole paper and try my best to write some parts of the paper which are based on references.

September, 2012

Decide subjects for my research. Start to collect data from them. Give subjects grammar test first, then writing test. The writing test holds twice a month.

October, 2012

A

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