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THE TRANSFER OF L1 RHETORIC IN L2 TEXTS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING

Abstract

This paper explores the transfer of second language learners' L1 rhetorical strategies in L2 writing and its impact on native (TL) readers' comprehension and evaluation of the texts. Ten pieces of ESL expository paragraphs written by native Japanese speakers are analyzed in terms of rhetorical organization. The correlation between the degree of the transfer of Japanese-specific rhetoric and the extent to which native English-speaking readers comprehend and positively evaluate the texts is then examined. The texts which demonstrate a typical rhetorical organization of English aided the comprehension and evaluation of both twenty-eight native readers and a control group of ten native Japanese readers. As far as the texts which adapted typical Japanese rhetorical strategies are concerned, however, the organization significantly hampered the comprehension and evaluation of the native English-speaking readers. The mismatch between the readers' L1 rhetorical expectations and native rhetorical strategies the writers manipulate appears to be a decisive factor. The research also suggests that the writer's level of English proficiency is not necessarily a critical factor in producing 'good' paragraphs for the native audience. Explicit instruction on rhetorical differences between L1 and L2, and the writer's awareness of these differences, contribute significantly to success in writing.

How to Cite

Takano, S., (1993) “THE TRANSFER OF L1 RHETORIC IN L2 TEXTS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHING”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 1, p.56-83.

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Shoji Takano (University of Arizona)

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