Second language (L2) process writing research follows the methodological tracks of first language (L1) process writing research to try to discern, among other aspects, the similarities and differences between writing in the first language and in a second or foreign language (FL). Previous studies comparing L1 and L2 or FL writing processes by means of think aloud protocol analysis show that the similarities overweigh the differences once a certain command of the L2 or FL is achieved. However, most of those studies compare the writing processes of either L1 and L2 (e.g. Martin-Betancourt 1986, and Jones & Tetroe 1987) or those of L1 and a FL (e.g. Arndt 1987, and Kongpun 1992). A single study, Yahya 1994, has previously studied the composing processes of multilingual writers who were at the time studying at an American university.

This study aims at comparing the writing behaviours present in the think-aloud protocols of three male writers while writing in Catalan (their L1), Spanish (their L2) and English (an FL for them). The subjects, university students, underwent schooling in both Catalan and Spanish in a period of language policy changes - formerly Spanish was the only official language in their area. A revision of the three subjects composing behaviours based on the think-aloud protocols shows that their planning and other text generating strategies are consistent across the three languages. It also shows that each subject approached the three writing tasks in a similar way thus showing his own individuality. A further study will have to consider the way they use the three languages in the think-aloud protocols. 


Arndt (1987) “Six writers in search of a text: A protocol based study of L1 and L2 writing” in ELT Journal 41/4 pp. 257-267

Jones, S. & J. Tetroe (1987) “Composing in a Second Language” in A. Matsuhasi (Ed.) Writing in Real Time: Modelling Production Processes Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, pp. 34-57.

Kongpun, S. (1992) “Composing Processes of Thai High School Students: A Protocol Analysis” Dissertation Abstracts International 54/11: 4018A.

Martin-Betancourt, M. (1986) The Composing Processes of Puerto Rican College Students of English as a Second Language; Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Fordham University.

Yahya, N. (1994) A Comparative Study of Multilingual Writers’ Composing Processes Facsimile Doctoral Dissertation, Indiana University of Pensylvania.