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ESP World, Issue 2 (28), Volume 9, 2010, http://www.esp-world.info

WRITING FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES: PROBLEMS FACED BY ARAB POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS, UUM

Fadi Maher Saleh Al-Khasawneh

ABSTRACT
This study aimed at investigating the academic writing problems of the Arab postgraduate students of the College of Business at Universiti Utara Malaysia and to provide solutions to these problems. For this purpose, four research questions were posed and the answers to these questions were provided and discussed. The data for the study were collected via (face-to-face) interviews. The informants of this study were postgraduate students from the College of Business at Universiti Utara Malaysia for the academic year 2008-2009. The findings of the study revealed that the students faced problems in relation to vocabulary register, organization of ideas, grammar, spelling, and referencing.

Introduction
Nowadays, English plays an important role in education and students are expected to communicate effectively in institutions where English is the medium of instruction. Learners face the task of mastering content area in subjects such as mathematics, social studies, science, and business which are taught in the target language (English). In such cases, teaching and learning of English can help the students to deal successfully with their academic demands and to perform successfully in their disciplines and professional contexts (Adams & Keene, 2000). WRITING FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES: PROBLEMS FACED BY ARAB POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS, UUM Fadi Maher Saleh Al-Khasawneh

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ESP World, Issue 2 (28), Volume 9, 2010, http://www.esp-world.info In the academic context, Dudley-Evans & St. John (1998) point out that the students are required to produce specific writing genres such as essay, summary, critical review, and research paper. However, focus on the distinguishing regularities of structure of different text types can help learners build a repertoire of the organization and the relevant language forms of different genres. It can also make learners aware of the socio-linguistic role that texts play in particular discourse communities.

In postgraduate studies in Malaysia, as pointed out by Baskaran (1983), English plays a vital role in helping to initiate students into the academic community in acquiring not only the language proficiency necessary but the specific genres pertaining to these communities.

Like any second language learners, Arab learners face many problems in acquiring English. Many studies (Abbad, 1988; Hisham, 2008; Rabab`ah, 2003; Zughoul and Taminian, 1984) have been conducted in the Arab world to investigate the problems of acquiring English among Arab learners. Zughoul and Taminian (1984: 4) found that “Jordanian EFL students commit serious lexical errors while communicating in English.” Rabab`ah (2003) emphasized that there were problems of acquiring English among Arab learners because of formal instruction by language teachers who are native speakers of Arabic. Another reason given by Rabab`ah (2003) was the limited opportunities Arab learners have to learn English through natural interaction in English since they only encounter native speakers of English who come to the Arab world as tourists. Hisham (2008) investigated the problems that Arab students of business might have at University

WRITING FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES: PROBLEMS FACED BY ARAB POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS, UUM Fadi Maher Saleh Al-Khasawneh

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ESP World, Issue 2 (28), Volume 9, 2010, http://www.esp-world.info Utara Malaysia. He found that those students face problems in vocabulary register, grammar, and referencing.

Abbad (1988: 15) admits the weakness of Yemeni learners of English, and he states that “in spite of the low proficiency level in English of most applicants (Yemeni learners), they are accepted into the English department.” In most of the Arab...
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