ERIC Number: ED199726
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Cohesion in English: A Key to the Way Our Culture Thinks?
Holloway, Dale W.
Minority cultures develop homogeneous customs, language, and thought patterns that affect the writing of individuals from these cultures. Once a student moves outside this homogeneous environment--for example, from an ethnic ghetto to white, middle class classrooms--ideas that seem to the writer to relate clearly to one another do not seem logical or developed to an "outsider." The outsider is not familiar with the inferential contexts the student takes for granted as understood in the homogeneous environment. Differences in cognitive orientation between some minority cultures and the dominant white culture result in these problems. Basic intellectual capacities for understanding "abstract" concepts are inherent to normal members of any culture, but each culture relates concepts in a different way, and these differences reveal themselves through language. If teachers can better understand how aspects of cohesion in language reflect cultural-specific thought processes, they can better guide minority students to communicate effectively in writing. Many minority college students, because of the cognitive styles predominant within their cultures, write in experiential or associative modes, which rely heavily on cohesive devices reflecting a system of logic unfamiliar to the teacher. Teachers must help these students understand that not everyone shares the same "semantic field" or context, and that cohesion is perceived differently by the writer and the reader. (HTH)
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Style, Cohesion (Written Composition), Communication Problems, Communication (Thought Transfer), Cultural Context, Cultural Differences, Discourse Analysis, Higher Education, Language Research, Logic, Minority Groups, Semantics, Writing (Composition), Writing Instruction
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981). Not available in paper copy due to marginal legibility of original document.