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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 31, 2011

An empirical demonstration of contrastive rhetoric: Preference for rhetorical structure depends on one's first language

  • Marcus Taft EMAIL logo , Denisse Kacanas , Winnie Huen and Ramony Chan
From the journal Intercultural Pragmatics


English written texts were produced by a group of monolingual speakers, as well as Chinese-English and Spanish-English bilinguals. These were randomly presented to another set of participants from the same three language groups for rating. The raters were unable to identify the language background of the authors of the transcripts, yet they were found to prefer the way the arguments were presented in the transcripts of their own language group. In contrast, there was no preference for the content of the arguments of the three language groups. A discourse analysis identified several aspects of the texts that might have led to the own-language preferences for rhetorical structure. The study provides empirical support for the notion of contrastive rhetoric.

Published Online: 2011-10-31
Published in Print: 2011-November

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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