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Bi-directional rhetorical transfer in the wirting of Korean learners of English: A case study of three groups

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Title: Bi-directional rhetorical transfer in the wirting of Korean learners of English: A case study of three groups
Authors: Cho, Hey Yoon
Advisor: Brown, James D.
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: Contrastive rhetoric (Kaplan, 1966) holds that rhetorical aspects of second language (L2) writing are strongly influenced by the writers‘ first language (L1) and culture, causing negative transfer. However, Scollon (1997), Spack (1997), and Zamel (1997) have expressed concern with the difficulty of identifying the direction of L1-L2 transfer because of intercultural and interlinguistic influences that derive from globalization (Kubota & Lehner, 2004). The present study employs critical contrastive rhetoric in a partial replication of Kubota (1998) and Yoon (2008), investigating the direction of the rhetorical transfer occurring in Korean students‘ essays in Korean (L1) and English (L2). The current study contributes to the comparative study of Korean and English because existing studies on Korean L2 writers of English (e.g., Choi, 2006; Ryu, 2006) are primarily focused on transfer from L1 to L2. This study investigates not only differences in individuals‘ L1 and L2 writings but also differences among three groups divided by their writing and learning experiences. These three groups were asked to write two argumentative essays on the same topic, one in their L1 and another in their L2, with a week interval between the two essays. The analysis of the study was conducted in terms of: (a) location of the main idea, (b) macro level patterns, and (c) text units of organizational patterns (Choi, 2006; Kubota 1998). A textual analysis of the data was undertaken and triangulated with the writers‘ responses to a questionnaire. The current study mainly explored the group differences in (a) the similarity between L1 and L2 essays; (b) the directionality of transfer, either from the L1 or from the L2; and (c) the causes of the transfer. By investigating groups of students with different amounts of previous writing instruction, this study is able to argue that Korean L2 writers of English are influenced in their rhetorical choices more by their learning experiences than by negative L1 to L2 transfer.
Pages/Duration: 47 pages
Appears in Collections:SLS Papers

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