This dissertation investigates the expression of contrastive transitions in the ESL/EFL (English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language) writing of university students of Arabic language background. For this purpose, an experimental group of 30 freshmen at Sohar University in Oman whose native language is Arabic served as the experimental group. They did three tasks, two writing activities and a cloze test, ranging from semi controlled (free writing) to the highly controlled cloze test. A control group of 30 Ball State University freshmen in Muncie, Indiana who speak English as a native language performed the same three tasks. This study indicates that the Arabic ESL/EFL students use contrastive transitions when writing contrastively in English. However, the expression of these contrastive transitions is relatively inadequate and limited compared to that of their native-English speaking peers. The Arabic students show a high rate of success in their expression of "but". However, they show a lower rate of success and confidence in their expression and appropriateness of other contrastive transitions.
Hisham Monassar, a native speaker of Arabic living in the USA, holds a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from Ball State University. His interests span cognitive/psycholinguistics, phonology, syntax, pragmatics, Arabic, English, and information processing. He has taught literature, translation, English (ESL), Arabic, and linguistics.