Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New article published in the Journal of Second Language Writing

Very happy to mention that the article I co-wrote with Ryuko Kubota has been published by the Journal of Second Language Writing. Click the reference below to read, and see the abstract below.

Heng Hartse, J. & Kubota, R. (2014.) Pluralizing English? Variation in High-Stakes Academic Texts and Challenges of Copyediting. Journal of Second Language Writing 24, 71-82.

Paralleling the pluralistic conceptualizations of language as found in world Englishes and English as a lingua franca (ELF), pluralizing language use - that is, accepting deviations from standard Anglo-American written English - has been advocated in the field of second language (L2) writing. However, the question of how this pluralization is or can be achieved remains underexplored, particularly at the level of lexis and grammar, which has traditionally been an important focus for readers of L2 writers' texts. This question becomes contentious in high-stakes academic writing, which entails negotiation between L2 writers and gatekeepers (editors, copyeditors) who are expected to ensure academic sophistication and rigor of published texts. This article addresses theoretical issues related to differences in language use by critically analyzing the authors' own process of copyediting nonnative English writers’ manuscripts prepared for a book publication.. It examines the role of literacy brokering (textual mediation by editors, proofreaders, and others) at the lexicogrammatical level in academic text production. We found that despite sympathy for an approach that would pluralize English usage, the textual mediation of lexical and grammatical items was often driven by native-speaker intuition and was idiosyncratic. This idiosyncrasy further poses skepticism about the applicability of both error-oriented approaches to and pluralistic theories about L2 writing to copyediting in high-stakes academic publishing.  We conclude that pervasive ideologies and accepted practices in academic publishing make it difficult to pluralize academic writing at the level of lexis and grammar. We conclude with suggestions for advocacy, research, and practice for L2 writing scholars and literacy brokers.

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