A Comparative Analysis on Cohesive Markers in Essay Composition of First Language and Second Language: Direct Writing Versus Translation

Cohesive markers, translated writing, direct writing, L1 transfer and L2 writing


  • Noor Shahariah Saleh Academy of Language Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA Cawangan Negeri Sembilan Kampus Seremban, Persiaran Seremban Tiga/1, 70300 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
  • Siti Fatimah Murtaza Centre for Language Studies, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, 86400 Parit Raja, Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia
  • Nurshila Umar Baki SMA Shamsuddiniah, Parit Medan, Kundang Ulu, 84710 Tangkak, Johor
October 2, 2021


Studies have revealed that first language has significant impacts on learners’ second language development. Utilizing L1 in the writing processes such as translation method and direct writing is a conventional strategy used by low proficiency level L2 learners. However, there is a lack of studies that determine the quality of writing influenced by L1 transfer. This study aims to provide a comparative analysis on the use of cohesive markers as a result of the use of Malay in English written text via translation and direct composition. The writing quality in terms of content, organisation and writing style of a group of students with low, intermediate and advanced proficiency levels from a secondary school in the district of Tangkak, Johor was scrutinised. Data were collected via two different topics of writing tasks using direct composition and translation writing process. The first topic involved English direct composition while the second topic employed direct Malay composition which was then translated into English. The results of the study indicated that English essays of direct writing showed less variety of cohesive markers as compared to Malay essays due to the lack of L2 writing skills. The learners apparently generated more ideas in their native language as well as utilized their L1 cohesive markers into L2 composition via the translation writing process. Nevertheless, the similarities and differences of cohesive markers in Malay and English help teachers to understand learners' organisation of Malay and English essays.