Second language writing, Written teacher feedback


This study explores how second language (L2) learners perceive indirect (hedging or indirect speech acts) and direct written teacher feedback. Though research suggests that indirect speech acts may be more difficult to interpret than direct speech acts (Champagne, 2001; Holtgraves, 1999), using indirect speech acts is often encouraged in the learning process, with the idea that it helps students discover their own errors (Ferris, 2007; Riley and Mackiewitz, 2003;). However, it may not be effective with L2 learners who often need more explicit instruction to understand how to revise their writing (Ferris, 2002). To examine the effect of different directness types on identifying requested corrections, native and non-native English-speaking university students were given two essays that contained written teacher feedback that differed in its directness. Participants were asked to identify if the teacher comments were praise or criticism. Two response times and accuracy scores were calculated: one, as participants determined if the teacher comment requested a correction and two, as participants made corrections. After each essay, participants answered additional questions regarding the written teacher feedback. Results show that directness type affected how quickly and accurately participants responded to positive and negative teacher feedback.

Original Publication Citation

Baker, W. & Hansen, R. (2010). The Effects of direct and indirect speech on native English and ESL speakers’ perception of teacher written feedback. System, 38, 75-84.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Elsevier Ltd







University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor