Intercultural Rhetoric Essay
The different forms of writing exhibit an individual’s personality and background by the style that he/she chooses to adopt. Additionally, it proves to be difficult for an individual to express the same tone or style in one’s text while complying with austere style strategies of another dialect. However, it is possible for an individual to possess mastery as a second language writer. The domain concerned with academic writing proves to be complex since it envisages multiple issues rather than grammar only. In some instances, academic writing involves consideration of foreign discipline and subcultures.
With regard to the aforementioned statement, an overseas student is subjected to conditions that dictate the way he/she write their essays. One often writes their essays in unaccustomed rhetorical styles of the intended culture (Stroud, 153). The supplementary complication in this domain is that diverse cultural conventions are tangled in the academic argument. The aforementioned conventions are crucial since an overseas student may possess a logical orientation which is perceived as illogical to the reader who expects an altered culturally reserved demonstration of logic. The paper shall highlight on the contrastive rhetoric theory and the contrastive features in academic writing.
The principle of contrastive rhetoric involves the study of the variances that are revealed in the discourses between different cultures as reflected in foreign academic writings. It is considered that all written dialects enclose an assortment of structural styles and that native speakers distinguish which style to utilize and the magnitude of their selections. However, with regard to non-native speakers, they do not have a comprehensive inventory of conceivable alternatives, fail to realize the sociolinguistic limitations of the alternatives and do not know the consequences imposed by their choice. Ultimately, the contrastive theory highlights the cultural barriers evident in foreign languages in academic writing.
Through the contrastive theory, one recognizes how an individual’s cultural background influences the organization of one’s writing; the selection of substantiation in support of his/her main ideas; the manifestation of the ideas; and the style one adopts to write in a foreign language. It also depicts how various rhetorical inclinations are replicated in textual structuring of different cultural settings. The contrastive theory upholds that writing and linguistics are a cultural phenomenon whose immediate consequence is that each dialect possesses unique rhetorical conventions. Three contrastive features were identified in this paper: namely; the inductive and deductive feature; the number of paragraphs; and the use of metaphors and proverbs.
The Inductive and Deductive Feature
Looking at a paper written in the American or British deductive format, the main idea or the thesis statement appears in the first paragraph. In China, the aforementioned format would be considered to be of poor quality since the inductive format proves to be more common than the deductive one. Under the inductive format, the background material is written first to lead the reader to the main point of the text. Due to this, a Chinese written text has a delayed introduction which seems to be illogical to an English speaking reader.
According to Stroud (2009), based on an essay written by a Chinese student, the argument of the essay was delayed and the statements in it appeared to be incoherent to a Western reader. Further research conducted on the topic revealed that non-native speakers inclined to utilize extensive but less operative introductions to the topics of their essays. Chinese texts adopt a format which commences with an extensive topic which gradually narrows to the underpinning of the paper.
An individual can determine whether an essay is deductive or inductive through giving due regard to the position of the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the sentence that succinct the central argument of the text. Consequently, if the thesis statement is positioned at the beginning of the text it is assumed to be a deductive, failure of which it will be considered to be inductive.
The Number of Paragraphs
The Chinese rhetorical style embraces a four-pattern format; namely; qi, which creates the field; Cheng, responsible for presenting and developing the topic; Zhuan, tackles the issues presented in the text from a different perspective; and the conclusion which reveals the author’s outlook. The source of the four-pattern format is presumed to be from historical Chinese poetry. Conversely, the Western way of structuring an essay is relatively flexible presenting the information through an operative introduction, body, and conclusion. The general perception is that the English essays place more emphasis on the form than the Chinese essays.
Every fraction of an English essay plays a distinct role; the introduction which reveals the theme of the text, the body which contains the arguments with supporting evidence, and the conclusion which condenses the whole text. Alternatively, the Chinese essays place more focus on the whole essay, that is to say, they are more variable, synthetic, and there are no distinct demarcations between the parts of the essay. Moreover, the Chinese rhetorical format is not stringent on the necessity for rational links between the essay parts. Chinese essays profoundly rely on the interpretation of the reader.
The organizational configuration of an essay is to be determined by considering the quantity and roles of the paragraphs. The general structure of the individual’s essay may be reflected through the overall and average numbers of paragraphs constructed. As a result, the apparent comparison of functions and numbers of paragraphs reveals the rhetorical variance between the different cultures.
Use of Metaphors and Proverbs
China’s grading rubric considers allusion, proverbs, and analogy as a vital criterion for grading texts. According to the Chinese, the use of the aforementioned issues subsidizes the magnificence of the dialect. Foreign students, while writing their essays, employ stylistic conventions that they have learned from their native culture and dialect (Liao et al, 31). The aforementioned practice is not only an eccentric variation but also a repetitive form of structuring and rhetorical conventions evocative of writing in the writers’ culture.
A research conducted by Stroud (2009) revealed that Chinese writers are used to fixing patterns like idioms, maxims and defer to tradition and culture of the past. Contrary to this the Western reader regards the patterns mentioned above as clichés while the Western authors encourage people to write in their own words. The obscurity of analogies and proverbs encourage multiple understandings of the meaning. With regard to the principle of rhetoric; it can either be desirable or not for one to use proverbs and analogies.
Conclusively, writing can prove to be difficult although it is an indispensable form of communication in one’s daily life. Different texts reveal the rhetoric of cultural disparity present in the world. Different cultures employ different rhetoric conventions when using writing as a means of communication.
Liao, Ming-Tzu, and Ching-Hung Chen. “Rhetorical Strategies in Chinese and English: a Comparison of L1 Composition Textbooks.” Foreign Language Annals. 42.4 (2010): 695 720.
Stroud, Scott. “Pragmatism and the Methodology of Comparative Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly.39.4 (2009): 353-379.
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