Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol 2, No 7 (2012), 1341-1354, Jul 2012

The Compensation Strategies of an Advanced and a Less Advanced Language Learner: A Case Study

Ana Belén Cabrejas-Peñuelas


This article presents the findings of a study that aims at investigating the compensation strategies used by an expert and a less expert language learner. Analyses of the think-aloud protocols, writing plans, drafts, the video recordings of the writing sessions and the follow-up interviews have given as a result a whole range of strategies. Compensation strategies have been found to be useful to make up for lack of linguistic knowledge and to keep the composing going. The advanced and less advanced learners have been found to use very similar strategies; however, while the advanced learner showed a careful orchestration of strategies leading to successful prose, the less expert used several strategies in a linear fashion that did not have good results for the quality of her essay. The results may have implications for teaching less able students.


expert learners; less expert learners; compensation strategies; L2 writing; think-aloud protocol



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