ERIC Number: ED394324
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
A Crosscultural Analysis of Argumentative Strategies in Student Essays.
Kamimura, Taeko; Oi, Kyoko
A study of essays on a single topic (capital punishment) written by 22 American high school students and 30 second-year Japanese college students investigated: cultural differences in organizational patterns in argumentative essays; comparative use of rational and affective appeals; differences in content of rational and affective appeals; characteristic types of rhetorical devices used; and specific cultural features of the compositions. Analyses and writing excerpts are presented here. Results indicate that in organizational pattern, a difference was found in the organizational unit termed "reservation," which gives Japanese rhetoric an impression of circularity. American students used more rational appeals and Japanese students used more affective appeals. Typical American argumentative strategies were logical, and Japanese strategies were more emotional. Americans preferred emphatic devices (e.g., "should, I believe") while the Japanese preferred softening devices and hedges (e.g., "I think, maybe") and emotional words (e.g., "Sad, Sorrow"). Distinctive differences were also found in preferred cultural tokens; Americans often referred to "Counseling, Biblical teaching, taxpayer's standpoint") while the Japanese touched on the victim's and family's needs ("empathy"). The study's results suggest further areas for research. Contains 16 references. (MSE)
Descriptors: Capital Punishment, College Students, Contrastive Linguistics, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Traits, Discourse Analysis, English, Foreign Countries, High School Students, High Schools, Higher Education, Japanese, Language Patterns, Native Speakers, Persuasive Discourse, Rhetoric, Sociocultural Patterns, Writing (Composition)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (30th, Chicago, IL, March 1996).