Open Access Peer-reviewed

A Functional Grammar Approach to Analysing Asian Students’ Writing

Dr Angelia Lu
National Institute of Education- Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
American Journal of Educational Research. 2013, 1(2), 49-57. DOI: 10.12691/education-1-2-3
Published online: August 25, 2017


This paper compares aspects of Singaporean and PRC students’ writing at the university level while enrolled in the freshman composition courses. These aspects involve instances of nominalization, theme, and use of modals (or their inappropriate usage) at various parts of the essays submitted by these students. These items are measured and reported in percentages as to gain greater insight to the depth of similarities and differences between the two sets of writing. In addition, the author is concerned that idiosyncractic usage of such anomaly in writing impedes comprehension when reading and is hardly audience-centred. It is noteworthy that the writing of Singaporean and Chinese students do produce various interesting similarities and differences, possibly attributable to their sociolinguistic and educational backgrounds. The implications of the results are analysed and discussed, with possible pedagogical solutions suggested in order to overcome difficulties of teaching separate students with different linguistic abilities.


Asian students’ writing, nominalisation, themes, modals
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