One characteristic of L2 users, especially those whose L2 is not fully developed, is that often they want to express a concept in L2, but they do not have a particular lexical item needed to express it.
While there are some similarities between formal speech and writing as two types of language production, the differences cannot be neglected. With time, this concept extended to include the handling of problems that have already surfaced during the course of a conversation, and also potentially during the act of composing, as a repair mechanism (Canale, 1983). Later, a new dimension to CSs was added by including communication maintenance devices (stalling strategies such as verbal and nonverbal fillers), the argument being that a primary source of problems faced by L2 speakers is insufficient processing time.
In the 90s, researchers approached the study of communication strategies from a process, cognitive point of view.
Figure 1 below illustrates the scope of communication strategies, that is, the problems or situations which motivate the use of a communication strategy. Generally, taxonomies of communication strategies are based on surface elements of language (that is, output). Taxonomies of communication strategies also make reference to another strategy, often a subcategory of achievement strategies: appealing for help, which generally refers to asking the interlocutor. It should be noted that the whole notion of communication strategies has, predominantly, been developed in the domain of spoken language.
Along similar lines, Yarmohammadi and Seif (1992) set out to investigate the employment of different CSs in the written and oral performances of fifty-one Persian learners of English at an intermediate level. Statistical analysis confirmed their hypothesis that their participants more frequently will resort to achievement strategies rather than reduction strategies.
Scholfield and Katamine’s study (2000) investigated the effects of medium of production (speech vs. Chimbganda (2000) studied the communication strategies used in the writing of responses in a biology exam by ESL university students.
All in all, it can be seen that all four research studies reviewed above, although using different terminology, distinguish between reduction and achievement strategies, with a number of sub-strategies in each category.
Some studies that have been carried out to look at the lexical aspect of writing in a naturalistic concept employ a cognitive view of writing. In another study, Wolfersberger (2003) set out to find out what L1 composing strategies lower L2 proficiency writers transfer to L2 writing. In an attempt to further the understanding of the use of communication strategies in writing in a naturalistic context, Santos (2006, 2008) set out to investigate the mechanisms employed to solve lexical problems faced during the act of composing by EFL Mexican university students.
The author also identified three aspects involved in the process of solving lexical problems in writing: (1) the source from which information to solve the problem is obtained, (2) the mechanisms employed to execute the solution, and (3) the outcome, that is, the way in which the solution is presented.
Finally, regarding the outcome, Santos (2008) found that after spotting a lexical problem the participants either take immediate action by (1) trying to solve the problem, (2) de-problematising the problem, or (3) giving up and changing the problem, or (b) delaying the solution to the problem, as shown in Table 1 below. But sometimes, self-correction occurred right after the mistake was made, such as in the following think aloud segment, where the participant realised a spelling mistake had been made immediately after it was done. Towards the end of section II, in reference to oral production a subcategory of achievement strategies was mentioned: appealing form help. Another area of inquiry is reference skills, that is, the actual look-up strategies employed. As can be seen, there are similarities as well as differences in the use of communication strategies to solve lexical problems in writing, compared to those reported in studying the speaking process of foreign language users. Another similarity between the use of communication strategies in speaking and in writing is the important role that the L1 plays in the solution of lexical problems. It has also been shown that as far as the strategies used to deal with situations in which language users do not have the lexical resources to convey a given meaning, speaking and writing have a great deal in common.
Finally, another fundamental difference has to do with the way the mechanisms employed to execute the solution are used in each mode. The analysis presented here reveals the complexity and bilingual nature of the process of solving lexical problems during the act of speaking and writing. The study aims to identify the oral communication strategies used by the students learning English as a foreign language in Turkey, using a reliable and valid measurement tool. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. The literature shows that foreign language learners face these kinds of lexical problems and use different strategies to solve them. Perera (1984), for example, indicates two fundamental difference types: situational and functional. To gain time and keep the communication channel open at times of difficulty, L2 speakers are forced to use strategies. Consensually, they distinguish two major types of CSs, namely, reduction (or avoidance) strategies and compensatory (or achievement) strategies, with subtypes in each general group. Research on the writing process is primarily interested in exploring the whole process of composing, and the strategies related to lexical problems are lost within their categorizations of composing strategies.
As for achievement strategies, the participants used IL-based strategies in a higher proportion than strategies based on other codes (for instance, L1).
Although it is in their favour that these studies on communication strategies shifted their interest towards the written medium, it should be noted that they do not investigate writing in natural circumstances, such as in composition, where the writer writes to express ideas freely. One characteristic of these studies is the use of introspective methodologies (such as think aloud protocols) as a tool to reveal the actual process of text construction. The study is not specific to the use of lexical strategies, but in the analysis some lexical strategies are revealed. He asked his participants to compose on a given topic and to verbalize their thoughts as they composed. In some cases the participants consulted previously produced text to solve a lexical problem, but these were cases in which the participants were solving a problem related to one lexical item for the second time in the same composing session.


In the course of an error repair, an accidental lapse that occurred at any phase of the production process is corrected.
Very often the alternative for the writer to solve problems of lack or partial knowledge of a linguistic item is the use of a dictionary.
One aspect of reference skill which is vital in the successfulness of the dictionary search is arriving at the right target.
Alphabetical search with reference to the initial letter of the sought word and with reference to the internal spelling of the sought word. Scan all of the definitions or translation equivalents in the entry for the one closest to the meaning in the writer’s mind to be expressed before making any decision.
Read the examples, grammar codes, collocation information, and style labels and find the one(s) that better fit the context in which the sought word is to be used.
Add any inflections that were eliminated during the original search, to fit the linguistic context in which the word will be used. A third way communication strategies are viewed is clearly used exclusively in speaking: to gain time and keep the communication channel open at times of difficulty.
In both cases achievement and compensation strategies are used and within these general groups, a set of specific categories. It is worth noting, however, that the study of communication strategies in the domain of speaking has had more impact on second language teaching and learning than the study of communication strategies in the domain of writing. Thus, the Strategy Inventory of Oral Communication (SIOC), developed by the present authors specifically for the Turkish culture, was used. 2, 2011Published: December, 2011 ISSN: 2395-9908Do Second Language Learners Solve Lexical Problems Differently in Speaking and Writing? However, literature on communication strategies tends to be associated with the spoken medium. Initially, the concept of communication strategies referred to mechanisms used to compensate for gaps in the speech of the L2 user.
Although these strategies are not actually used to compensate for any linguistic deficiencies, they are facilitative in that they help sustain communication in the face of difficulties (Dörnyei, 1995). An important number of taxonomies, more process-oriented, focus exclusively on compensatory strategies.
This category includes, among others, appeal for help as related to resource deficits, and own-accuracy check.
There are a number of studies, however, that have set out to explore specifically production problems in writing (including lexical problems) and the strategies employed to solve them. Within reduction strategies he includes generalizations (the use of a superordinate word) and approximation (which conveys a part of the intended meaning). Although the researchers claim that the participants used the same CSs in both the written and the spoken tasks, they found that some achievement strategies were exclusive to oral performance, specifically appealing for verification (cooperative strategy), mime, and retrieval.
They predicted that there would be less avoidance in the written condition than in the spoken, and more use of achievement strategies. This fact may have an impact on the problems participants faced and on the strategy choice (see Oxford et al., 2004). In think aloud methodologies participants are asked to verbalize their thoughts while they are engaged in the writing problem. Although in their research questions they mention an interest on solution strategies, their analysis concentrates on problems.
Wolfersberger identified a number of compensation strategies to deal with L2 language issues. Research shows that the process of getting the right meaning in writing entails a complex set of processes. If the word was sought in a bilingual dictionary (L1 to L2), double-check the translation of the alternative words in the L2 to L1 section, or in the case of a monolingual search, use a thesaurus for double-checking the alternative words. In writing, gaining time and keeping the communication channel open is not necessarily crucial, since interaction with the reader does not often take place at the time the writing is been produced. However, some researchers warn that planning via L1 is not always productive (see Akyel, 1994).
The main differences between the two language modes regarding these specific categories are (1) appealing for help (the predominant use of dictionary in writing vs. In writing, repeating, which takes the form of reading something that has been written before, is used as an attempt to recall something or to evaluate the previous text. The study of communication strategies in speaking has given rise to the creation of an array of materials oriented to the development of strategic competence in second language students, whereas in the written domain little has been done. To conclude I hope this paper has triggered any further discussion or thoughts on these and related issues. Compensatory strategies in second language research: A critic, a revision, and some (non-) implications for the classroom. Communication may be interrupted if the speaker pauses too long to think or to remember a lexical item whereas the writer, because he or she is alone, can take his or her time to find the exact word to convey an intended meaning, without fear of interruption.
The intention of this review is to bring into the discussion of communication strategies the issue of written production.
Also they hypothesised that changing the available repertoire of strategies affects use of strategies other than the one added or subtracted. The verbalization is recorded and later transcribed and the transcriptions (that is to say, the protocols) are analyzed.
In the following example, a segment of a think aloud protocol during the process of revision, the participant realises that the word government has been misspelled and immediately corrects the problem. For example, in the context of writing, bilingual dictionaries can be used when the writer lacks an L2 lexical form for a given L1 word.


Each search requires from the searcher a given level of linguistic proficiency, experience with dictionaries, prior knowledge, and appropriate search strategies (Christianson, 1997; Santos, 2010). It is crucial, however, to be able to solve lexical problems around the time they are faced, especially when there is a time limit, such as in essay writing at school for evaluation purposes. It is expected that works such as those that were presented in this article prompt the interest in creating materials for the development of strategic competence in second language writing. Communication strategies used in the writing of answers in biology by ESL first year science students of the University of Botswana.
Proceedings of the European Writing Conference, SIG Writing, Barcelona Autonomous University. More on communication strategies: Classification, resources, frequency, and underlying processes.
The inventory was administered to 294 EFL students at the English Language Teaching Department of Mersin University. In this paper I contend that lexical problems can come to the writer’s attention as much as they come to the speaker’s attention, therefore provoking the use of communication strategies in the written domain. Since then, a considerable amount of research has been carried out on the nature of communication strategies (CSs), taxonomies of strategic language devices, and variation in CS use, especially in speaking.
Also, because written communication is expected to be error free to a greater extent than spoken communication, and because, unlike the speaker, the writer does not have immediate feedback (or sometimes no feedback at all) regarding any ambiguity, careful attention to lexical choice is called for in writing.
Awareness, the second defining criterion, can be related to the speaker or writer’s awareness of a problem being faced, and their intentionality of the use of CSs to solve the problem.
It must be noted that the distinction between the different subcategories seems to be blurred with regard to form. The researchers identified the following CSs: circumlocution, approximation, word coinage, literal translation, language switch, message abandonment, and topic avoidance.
As can be seen, problems of the type 1 and 3 imply higher goals that go beyond the mere transcription of ideas as they are constructed, problems of the type 2) are L2 specific, and problems of the type 4 are related to issues of semantic coverage within each language or between languages (p. Using a dictionary and asking the researcher were used as part of a strategy of backtranslating, that is, translating to L1 previously L2 written text, to verify that the words used in the previously written text conveyed the intended meaning.
Researchers consensually agree on two general stages: before locating the sought word (macro stage) and after locating the sought word (micro stage). Regarding the forth way communication strategies are viewed, appealing for verification (cooperative strategy), whereas its use in speaking is easily identifiable, it is not so in writing.
The study aimed to investigate the differences in the use of oral communication strategies in terms of language proficiency level and gender.
This paper reviews the literature on communication strategies both in oral and written production, and establishes a comparison between them. Functional differences refer to situations such as the fact that in speaking, people can use gestures, facial expressions, stress and intonation to convey meaning, whereas in writing the language bears all the burden of communication: the writer needs to achieve linguistic explicitness through words. They found no significant difference of strategy choice between the oral and written condition, with a high rate of avoidance in both conditions. Perhaps a comparable use in writing is what Santos (2006) calls lexical enhancement and what Wolfersberger (2003) calls backtranslation. It was found that negotiation for meaning and compensatory strategies are the most frequently used, with no statistically significant differences in terms language proficiency. In other words, are communication strategies used differently in oral and written production? Linguistic strategies, on the other hand, entail using the knowledge of formal rule systems of the native language, target language, or other languages, and insights into the correspondences between these. Interestingly, the written version exhibited significantly more avoidance than the spoken one. Their results raise two important questions regarding the role of L1 in L2 composing: How do writers adapt their existing L1 writing competence to the new demands imposed by the L2 situation? In these cases, direct appealing is not possible, but the writer’s concern for a more optimal possibility implies thinking about the audience, as a way of indirect appealing for verification.
Message abandonment and planning strategies, on the other hand, were the least frequently used strategies, favored mostly by intermediate level students.
Moreover, there were significant differences in the use of oral communication strategies in terms of gender. En este articulo afirmo que al igual que el hablante, el escritor enfrenta problemas lexicos por lo que se ve obligado a utilizar estrategias comunicativas para su solucion.
While female students used message abandonment strategies more frequently than males, males used affective strategies more frequently than females.
El articulo hace una revision bibliografica de la literatura sobre estrategias comunicativas tanto en produccion oral como escrita, y establece una comparacion entre ambas. Effects of sex differences, career choice, and psychological type on adult language learning strategies. An investigation of learner autonomy and strategies for coping with speaking problems in relation to success in English speaking class. The relationship between speaking anxiety and speaking strategies among university students in Taiwan.



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