The underlying mechanisms for using compensatory strategies in EFL writing.

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English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in Lower Vocational Education in the Netherlands are regularly tested to measure their writing proficiency in English. Students who encounter problems during their writing test may apply strategies to overcome these difficulties. It is not exactly clear yet how these strategies are applied in writing, as most research on these strategies has been done in speech. To investigate this phenomenon, a writing test was created in order to elicit compensatory strategies. The participants may have a tendency to use specific strategies to solve lexical, structural, and pragmatic problems. The aim of this study is to give more insight into the mechanisms that underlie strategy use in EFL writing and to examine whether proficiency influences strategy use. The results indicated that the participants mainly use conceptual strategies to help with lexical retrieval problems in closed and ope! n-ended w riting assignments and that some strategies are influenced by proficiency. Key words: Applied linguistics, Language testing, EFL writing, Think-aloud protocol, Compensatory strategies, Language proficiency
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