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2. Contrastive rhetoric studies in applied linguistics

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Carla Cingolani

on 2 August 2014

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Transcript of 2. Contrastive rhetoric studies in applied linguistics

Theory of second language acquisition = L1 interferes with L2
(in a harmful way) (=transfer)
Three approaches to transfer:
1) Contrastive analysis

2) Error analysis

3) Analysis of "interlanguage"
Setting: Late 1960's
New models of Second Language Acquisition appeared; notion of "interlanguage" was coined; L1 was no longer believed to be a "bad" influence on SLA.
Setting: 1950's & 1960's
Objects of study - beginner level ESL students
Began to improve language teaching pedagogy
Believed that interference of L1 was the biggest problem
Contrastive rhetoric - EA - it looked at paragraph organization and found reasons for mistakes on the background language
CR never entered the ‘interlanguage’ stage - it did not have a large body of ESL data or a unified methodology
Kaplan’s ‘traditional’ CR was critisiced for:
 Being too ethnocentric and privileging native English writing (Maralene 1985)
 Examining only L2 products ignoring educational developmental process variables (Mohan and Au Yeung Lo 1985)
 Dismissing linguistic and cultural differences in writing among related languages – such as Chinese, Thai and Korean which were grouped under Oreintal languages (Hinds 1983)
 Considering transfer from L1 to L2 as negative influence (Raimes 1991)

Kaplan (1987-88) - explained that rhetorical differences not necessarily suggest different patterns of thinking, but these differences may reflect different writing conventions that are learned in a particular culture

Singapore has a "Singapore English" as lingua franca.
Other Englishes?
Yes! Typically, contrastive rhetoric considers Anglo-American English rhetorical patterns as the norm.
However, contrastive rhetoric is beginning to consider the variation in American, British, and other "native" Englishes (i.e., Canadian, Australian, New Zealand English), as well as nonnative varieties.
2.1 Contrastive analysis, error analysis and analysis of interlanguage
2.2 Development of contrastive rhetoric: parallel with contrastive analysis
2.3 International Englishes
2. Contrastive rhetoric studies in applied linguistics
Cingolani - Daly
CR - not syntactic issues in writing BUT moved ahead to compare discourse structures across cultures and genres
Culture specific patterns - negative influence on L2 writing
Kaplan - study model compositions constructed with straight line of development thought typical of the target style
2.5 Summary
2.4 New direction in CR research in applied linguistics contexts
1990s - renewed interest in the study across cultures writing
'Paradigm shift' - L1
CR framework - linguistic, cognitive and sociocultural vairables
Internal criticisms forced contrastive rhetoricians to consider discourse level features and process writing
External criticism:
 Changing the foci in L1 composition research - cognitive models of writing now described writing as a discursive process of generating, organizing and translating ideas into texts (Flower and Hayes 1981)
 New development in discourse analysis and text linguistics – now whole texts are considered as dynamic entities

The nature of writing changed, and now it was seen as interactive and social - led CR to leave the simple study of products and move on to examine the process in a variety of writing situations focusing not only on the writer’s purposes but also on the reader and the situation
Contrastive text linguistics
 comparison of discourse features across languages

text analysis
written analysis
which goes beyond sentence level
 Enkuist (1984)
refers to a discourse without context
refers to a text with situational context
 Virtanen (1990)
- ‘text’ as the structural qualities of discourse which embraces the process through which readers and writers attempt to produce and comprehend a text

Textual patterns to express coherence
vary among languages and cultures
- Hinds 1990 –Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Korean favor a
‘quasi inductive’
style of presentation where there is a
‘delayed introduction of the purpose’
, which appears to be incoherent for English speaking readers
 Writers need to be sensitive to
- how they achieve coherence through textual structures
- the expectations on the part of the reader/writer across cultures
 Martins 1992:
cohesion, coherence, intentionality, acceptability, informationality, situationality and intertextuality

The study of writing as a cultural activity
 comparing the process of learning to write in different cultures
 1980s- the importance laid on
becoming literate in one’s native language and culture
 relationship between culture and discourse had different domains:
anthropological and psychological
, which focus on the social functions of writing
, which focuses on the role of instruction on writing on a given language and culture
- the studies of ESL students’ backgrounds and the effects of them in their literacy on the L2

Classroom-based contrastive studies
 The classroom dynamics of L2 writing
 Research is based on
writing as a social construction of meaning
– focus on the value of examining perceptions and benefits about literacy and learning in writing classrooms
 Cultural mismatches inside classrooms manifest in:
conversation, collaborative groups and teacher-student conferences
 Hull (1991) competence in writing classroom =
interactional competence
competence with written languages
 Classroom talk is embedded in culture- for instance, Western classroom talk is a tripartite series of turns: the teacher initiates, the students reply and the teacher evaluates the response

Interethnic and cross cultural differences
in turn-taking may impede communication
important to understand cultural variation in classroom behavior and communication patterns

Contrastive rhetoric and genre analysis
 journal articles, school essays, business reports, etc
 CR dealt with expository prose - became more involved in
writing for many purposes

 Genre specific research helps to untangle the combined
effects of culture
, the
writer’s own background
and the
specific situation

 For instance, Finns have different coherence conventions than English speakers, and they leave unsaid things they consider obvious, where English expects them as clarification
 Interactions need to be addressed among several variables:
L1, the genre, the situation, the student’s individual background

Contrastive rhetoric and the teaching of an ideology
 The inculcation of culturally different intellectual traditions
 The theory of social construction of meaning through writing insists on
the importance of helping writers to see themselves in reference to their audience and social context

 The previous cannot be applied to the ESL writing classes ideology for:
- teachers only teach the language and
do not dwell with feelings
- they help students to write
according to the expectations
of their chosen academic discourse community
- teaching in an international level makes the critical pedagogy of the L1 in US meaningless outside the US
 McKay (1993) - the importance of understanding various social practices and considering what the writers bring from their L1:
- the ways of structuring discourse
- how they interact with audiences
- their valuing knowledge
 The emphasis is on:
- individual and cultural-societal contributions of writers
- helping celebrate diversity
- explaining that nonnativeness in writing derives from socio-cultural traditions

AKA, contrastive analysis, research on international Englishes, & others, and their influence on contrastive rhetoric.
One negative aspect of transfer, per ESL teachers, is accent that reflects phonemic characteristics of the student's native language.
Mistakes by L2 learners were caused by native language.
What did Contrastive analysis maintain?
"the transitional competence of the L2 learner"
Why is Contrastive rhetoric in applied linguistics significant?
It reflects the enhanced role of teaching writing in ESL, EFL and FL instruction.
Contrastive rhetoric research is interdisciplinary: it draws from texts linguistics, composition pedagogy, and literacy development, among others.
Contrastive rhetoric research enables recommendations for teaching L2 writing by:
1) evaluating written products of ESL and EFL students based on textlinguistic insights;
2) understanding cultural differences in writing processes;
3) appreciating influences of L1 literacy acquisition on L2 writing;
4) understanding writing cross-culturally in academic and professional situations;
5) being sensitive to societal-cultural differences in intellectual traditions and ideologies.
But wait - what is Contrastive Rhetoric?
It's an area of research in second language acquisition that identifies problems in composition encountered by second language writers and, by referring to the rhetorical strategies of the first language, attempts to explain them.
1. Contrastive text linguistics
2. The study of writing as a cultural activity
3. Classroom-based contrastive studies
4. Contrastive rhetoric and genre analysis
5. Contrastive rhetoric and the teaching of an ideology
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