Word processing and e-mail in second language writing is an area of continued interest.
Perez-Sotelo and Gonzilez-Bueno (2003, p. 870) state that "the foreign-language teaching
community has broadly accepted the use of electronic writing as a beneficial tool for improving
writing." Biesenbach-Lucas, Meloni and Weasenforth (2000) compared the effects of using e-
mail versus word-processing media to complete similar writing assignments. They focused on 12
cohesive features and on text length, concluding that cohesive features are similar across media
but that students tend to elaborate less in e-mail writing assignments. The authors recommend
developing standards for each medium and suggest that e-mail can be a valuable classroom tool
if instructors teach the conventions and purposes of e-mail writing.
There are many benefits to writing with the computer, and Pennington (2003) aptly
summarizes some of the computer potential for second language writers as follows:
Increased writing efficiency and effectiveness
Increased amount of writing
More effective use of language
Interactivity and collaboration
New modes and genres of writing
Flexibility of access to tools, texts, helps, and partners
Expanded access to writing resources, information, and the world
The concepts of increased writing efficiency and effectiveness, increased amount of
writing, and more effective use of language are part of the definition of fluency, and thus it can
be said that using computers to write may in part increase fluency in second language writing.
Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta. Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4688/. Accessed May 22, 2013.