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Written mediation in the KPG exams: Source text regulation resulting in  hybridformations (2009)

Maria Stathopoulou (Full Paper)
Master's Dissertation
Department of Language and Linguistics
Faculty of English Language and Literature
School of Philosophy
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

The present study deals with the notion of mediation, which firstly appeared in the Common European Framework for Languages: Teaching, Learning and Assessment (CEFR) in 2001 and has innovatively been used by the Greek state certificate of language competence, known as KPG. Actually, the study is based on the claim that, given the nature of mediation -which involves relaying information from one language to another- the source text regulates the target text and its traces are visible. In fact, regulation of the target text may vary from weak to strong, and this variation depends on a series of factors. This claim, put forth by Dendrinos (2007c), who also views these traces as hybrid formations or deviations from standard forms of English, rather than ‘bad English’ or ‘errors’, constitutes a significant move away from traditional research regarding mother-tongue interference.

Adopting the aforementioned claim, the aim of this dissertation is to investigate the extent to which the Greek source text in the written mediation activity of the KPG writing test of the B2 level exam in English regulates candidates’ scripts in English, and in what way it regulates it. Thus, it sets out to analyse KPG candidates’ mediation scripts in order to locate instances of strong or weak regulation, believing that, when regulation is weak, ‘code meshing’ structures produced are more likely to be successful hybrid forma­tions, and that, when regulation is strong, the text is more likely to contain formations that make little or no sense in English. The problem of unintelligibility is assumed to be caused by violation of the rules of English grammar, in terms of form, meaning or use, or perhaps a combination of any of these.

A total number of two hundred and forty (240) scripts have been analyzed in the course of this research. These have been selected from the data bank of the Research Centre for the English Language Teaching and Testing (RCeL) of the University of Athens and have been divided into two categories, i.e. the fully satisfactory scripts and the moderately satisfactory scripts. The two categories of scripts have been compared with a view to discovering whether the script writer’s competence is one of the factors affecting the type and the degree of source text regulation. Other factors, thought to affect the strength or weakness of source text regulation –such as discourse topic, genre and register– have also been con­sidered.


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