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        What ESL students can learn from ESL writers

        • calenderMay 03, 2022
        • calender 5 min read

        For anyone who’s looked up recommendations for must-read books, Lolita (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov is a common sighting. This novel is a cornerstone in the English literature world. Such is the impact his first work in English has garnered over the years. His first nine novels were in Russian. This makes Nabokov a champion of sorts in exophonic writing.

        Exophony is the practice of writing (normally creative) in a language that is not one’s mother tongue. Exophonic writers or ESL writers thoroughly grasp another language because of various reasons. It could be because of migration, political motivations, or out of personal interest. But the main motivation for modern exophonic writers is commercial success.

        Creative or academic writing in a second language is a challenging task. It takes time and effort to understand the structure and grammar of another language.

        Even the native speakers notice such complexities once they write for serious purposes. So it is understandable when ESL students struggle to gain proficiency in a language that is widely spoken throughout the world.

        There is much to learn from how these exophonic writers think, write and operate.

        Here’s how they can inspire you for personal and professional success:

        1) Mastering a second language.

        Once you move to a new country, you learn a little of the language that is spoken there or try once you are there. Don’t learn the language just so you can speak with people. There is a lot of creative potential in you to use the new language. Aleksandar Hemon, a Bosnian who moved to America, wrote his first English short story within three years. Today, he is a well known ESL writer!

        2) Professional Advancement

        Making small talk is convenient and easy. But it takes time to have engaging conversations with your new friends and colleagues. Indulging from time to time in creative writing can help you get there. That is when you gain insights into topics of your mutual interest and it will naturally flow out in your conversations. ESL students can start conversations with their friends, however small the topic might be and try to make complex sentences. 

        3) Improved capacity of thinking

        You may encounter many words, meanings and concepts that only exist in a particular language, which other languages and cultures have not conceived or defined. This makes you think in a greater capacity. It could introduce you to new concepts of freedom, norms and ethics which do not exist in your first language or local culture. ESL writers do a tremendous amount of research in a language that is not their mother tongue and still pull off accuracy in terms of the representation of another culture. 

        4) Increased Opportunities

        Developing proficiency in a new language can have profound effects on a student’s global perspective and social perception. An acquired language with its tools can also help you refine your first language and understand its intricacies.

        Being fluent in a language (especially English) improves an ESL student’s chances of being admitted to social groups with greater amounts of social and political influence.

        We know that ESL students go through tough times in their academic pursuits. You will have to work on your given dissertations, essays and thesis. What might help you have an edge in all such assignments is to develop a habit of creative writing?

        We don’t suggest you write a novel right off the boat. But once you have the basics clear, you can start to dabble in creative writing. Blog writing, articles for a college magazine, publishing a short story or keeping a personal journal can do wonders in the way you speak and write an acquired language.

        We hope you venture into the uncharted territory of creative writing and put out some brilliant stuff out there. If you need any help with academic or creative writings, you can trust PaperTrue to proofread and edit your written material.

        Found this article helpful?


        Manish Linkedin

        Manish is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, and the Founder of PaperTrue. His vision is to make impeccable English communication possible for everybody, so they can write effectively and gain the academic and professional success they deserve.

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