Reading and Gender Effect on Writing Style: Case of Hungarian Learners of English
Keywords:Extracurricular Reading, Gender Differences, Morpho-Syntactic Complexity, Semantic Levels, Type/Token Ratio, Lexical Diversity
The present study tests language production of 15 Hungarian students, 16 of age, enrolled in the EFOP-3.2.14-17-2017-00003 project, aimed at promoting English in the Trans-Danubian regions, during 12 weeks following the B1+ framework beforehand prepared by the pedgogical office at the University of Pannonia. 58 essays, from various themes, have been analyzed following a similar approach to Van Heuven et al. 2017, in their study on Gender effects and writing styles. Using AntConc concordance software (Anthony, 2012, 2013) and tagging with CLAWS5, a word list was generated with over 6229 lines equally distributed between males and females. Reading-factor and gender-based grouping were systematically used as predictor models to visualize production complexity on the morpho-syntactic and semantic levels. Parameters such as sentence length, mean word length, content and finite verbs, punctuations, complexity and TT were essential for this comparison. Better writers use longer words, use more different words (so show a higher type/token ratio and/or higher Lexical Diversity (D), and most important of all, use more complex sentences (more finite verbs relative to their total number of words). According to the ANOVA, the Gender effect (p= .750) is larger than the Reading effect (p= .485) based on the partial Eta squared pη2. Extracurricular reading yields better writing but only for the girls – it does not work for the boys.
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