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ERIC Number: EJ796861
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1475-1585
Reconciling Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches to Graduate Writing: Using a Corpus to Teach Rhetorical Functions
Charles, Maggie
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, v6 n4 p289-302 Oct 2007
This paper shows how top-down and bottom-up approaches can be reconciled in EAP writing materials through a pedagogic approach which combines discourse analysis with corpus investigation. The materials have been trialled with approximately 40 international graduates and are designed both to introduce concordancing and to raise awareness of certain rhetorical functions. Here I present and discuss the material on "Defending your Research against Criticism." Initial discourse-based tasks help students to recognise a two-part rhetorical pattern, in which the writer first concedes the possibility of criticism and then moves to neutralise its potentially negative effect. Subsequently, students perform controlled, context sensitive corpus searches, which provide broader exposure to the pattern and focus on specific lexico-grammatical issues. These corpus-based tasks require work on a small number of expanded concordance lines in detail, a procedure which leads to enhanced understanding of the context in which the rhetorical function appears. The two types of learning activity involve different, but complementary types of work: in the discourse tasks, the focus is primarily on function, whereas in the corpus tasks, it is on form. I argue that it is the combination of the two approaches that provides the enriched input necessary for students to make the connection between general rhetorical purposes and specific lexico-grammatical choices.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A