Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 08/31/2020

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Second Language Acquisition

First Advisor

Liskin-Gasparro, Judith E

Second Advisor

Severino, Carol

First Committee Member

Otto, Sue E

Second Committee Member

Plakans, Lia

Third Committee Member

Wesely, Pamela


This naturalistic exploratory multiple case study of the academic writing activity of L2 writers enrolled in an introductory Spanish literature course reveals the complex dynamicity of intertextual activity and L2 development.

The writing tasks, designed for communicative practice rather than for mastery of a genre, required students to upload Microsoft Word documents to the learning management software’s dropbox, thus necessitating their engagement with multiple digitally mediated resources. Participants completed the assignment outside of class in a computer lab, where data were collected, including observational field notes, screen recordings, and stimulated recall, and semi-structured interviews about the participants’ use and perception of digital resources.

Findings show that these students employed many strategies with a variety of resources, including online dictionaries, translators, and original and translated texts, when experiencing a lexical gap while writing. A close examination of second language writers’ intertextual engagement with the affordances provided by these digitally mediated resources through an analytical frame informed by dynamic systems theory (Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008a) reveals idiosyncratic use and evidence of emergent word and strategy learning. Pedagogical implications, including the need to start where students are, are discussed.


Complexity Theory, Digital Literacies, Dynamic Systems Theory, Foreign Language Learning, Second Language Writing, Vocabulary Learning


xv, 495 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 451-467).


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Copyright © 2018 Elizabeth Dryman Deifell