Hauptseminar: Contrastive Rhetoric

Fridays, 14:00 – 16:00 in room U1.93, building 23.21
May 16 – July 4, 1997


Prof. Dr. Richard F. Young
Email: rfyoung at wisc dot edu
Web: http://www.wisc.edu/english/rfyoung
Office hours: 13:00 – 15:00 Fridays in room 01.70 building 23.21


Connor, U. (1996). Contrastive rhetoric: Cross-cultural aspects of second language writing. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Seminar description

Before Robert Kaplan's landmark article "Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education" was published in 1966, many people believed that problems that learners of English had in writing were due to different ways of thinking. In that article, Kaplan argued against different thought patterns and suggested instead that writing styles differ in different languages and the problems of second language writers can be explained by transfer of an L1 writing style into an L2. Kaplan's article established the field of contrastive rhetoric -- the comparative study of writing styles in different languages for the purpose of facilitating writing in a second language. In this seminar we will examine the history, principles, and methods of contrastive rhetoric and draw implications for the teaching of writing in English as a second language and for translation from and into English.

Seminar requirements

For a kleine Schein

One group seminar presentation of one or more articles from the readings.

Regular attendance and participation in seminar discussions.

For a große Schein

The requirements for a kleine Schein plus ...

One 10 - 20 page paper that synthesizes and critically reviews literature in a relevant area of your choice.

Seminar outline

Friday, May 16 — Introduction and History of Contrastive Rhetoric

Chapters 1, 2, and 6 in Connor

Kaplan, R. B. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education. Language Learning, 16, 1-20.

Leki, I. (1991). Twenty-five years of contrastive rhetoric: Text analysis and writing pedagogies. TESOL Quarterly, 25, 123-143.

Friday, May 23 — The Cultural Context of Writing

Chapter 6 in Connor.

Cai, G. (in press). Texts in contexts: Understanding Chinese students' English compositions. In C. R. Cooper & L. Odell (Eds.), Evaluating writing (2nd ed.). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Fallaci, O. (1979, October 7). An interview with Khomeini. The New York Times Magazine, pp. 29-31.

Johnstone, B. (1986). Arguments with Khomeini: Rhetorical situation and persuasive style in cross-cultural perspective. Text, 6, 171-187.

Friday, May 30 — Specific Contrasts with English

Clyne, M. (1987). Cultural differences in the organization of academic texts: English and German. Journal of Pragmatics, 11, 211-247.

Hinds, J. (1983). Contrastive rhetoric: Japanese and English. Text, 3, 183-195.

Friday, June 6 — Composition Theory and Contrastive Rhetoric

Chapter 4 in Connor.

Corbett, E. P. J. (1990). Classical rhetoric for the modern student. (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. (pages 1-31)

Murray, D. (1970). The interior view: One writer's philosophy of composition. College Composition and Communication, 21, 21-26.

Flower, L. S., & Hayes, J. R. (1981). A cognitive process theory of writing. College Composition and Communication, 32, 365-387.

Nystrand, M. (1989). A social-interactive model of writing. Written Communication, 6, 66-85.

Friday, June 13 — Contrastive Rhetoric and Text Linguistics

Chapter 5 in Connor

Meyer, B. J. F., & Rice, G. E. (1984). The structure of text. In P. D. Pearson (Ed.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 319-351). New York: Longman.

Schneider, M., & Connor, U. (1990). Analyzing topical structure: Not all topics are equal. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 12, 411-427.

Friday, June 20 — Computer-Aided Text Analysis

Reid, J. (1992). A computer text analysis of four cohesion devices in English discourse by native and nonnative writers. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1, 79-107.

Barlow, M. (1997). Monoconc for Windows (Version 1.2). Houston, TX: Athelstan.

Friday, June 27 — Contrastive Rhetoric and Translation Studies

Chapter 7 in Connor.

House, J. (1997). Translation quality assessment: A model revisited. Tübingen: Narr. (Chapter 3)

Kobayashi, H., & Rinnert, C. (1994). Effects of first language on second language writing: Translation versus direct composition. In A. H. Cumming (Ed.), Bilingual performance in reading and writing (pp. 223-255). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Language Learning/John Benjamins.

Neubert, A. (1994). Competence in translation: A complex skill, how to study and how to teach it. In M. Snell-Hornby, F. Pöchhacker, & K. Kaindl (Eds.), Translation studies: An interdiscipline: Selected papers from the Translation Studies Congress, Vienna, September 9-12, 1992 (pp. 411-420). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.

Friday, July 4 — Genre-specific Studies in Contrastive Rhetoric

Chapter 8 in Connor

Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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