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Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207
Tracing the culture behind writing: Rhetorical patterns and bidirectional transfer in L1 and L2 essays of Turkish writers in relation to educational context
Hacer Hande Uysal *
Gazi University, College of Education, Department of Foreign Languages Education, Egitim Fakultesi, Yabanci Diller Egitimi Bolumu C Blok Teknikokullar, 06500 Ankara, Turkey
Abstract The study examines whether writers from shared cultural backgrounds display common writing patterns in their texts and whether these patterns differ while writing in L1 versus L2. The study explored the presence and bidirectional transfer of rhetorical patterns in eighteen Turkish participants’ writing in relation to previous writing instructional context deﬁned as ‘‘small culture.’’ Participants were ﬁrst given a survey about their writing instruction history. Then, each participant wrote two argumentative essays in Turkish and English. These texts were analyzed and stimulated recall interviews were given to discover the reasoning behind certain rhetorical patterns and their transfer. The results revealed some rhetorical preferences and their bidirectional transfer. However, although most rhetorical patterns could be traced to the educational context, various other inﬂuences, such as L2 level, topic, and audience were also found to account for these patterns and their transfer. # 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Contrastive Rhetoric; L1 writing; L2 writing; Transfer; Writing instruction; Culture; Cultural writing patterns; Turkish writing
Culture behind writing Berlin (1984, p.1) states that ‘‘rhetoric is a cultural social event’’ and ‘‘a social invention’’ which arises ‘‘out of a time and place, and a peculiar social context.’’ As writing is a consciously learned skill through schooling that is often done according to each society’s needs, expectations, and desires for future generations, it is inextricably interrelated with education and in accord with larger cultural contexts. For that reason, it is very likely that unique writing conventions exist in
* Tel.: +90 312 202 8488; fax: +90 538 7603935. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1060-3743/$ – see front matter # 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jslw.2007.11.003
H.H. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207
each society; once a person learns a certain way of writing in one culture, this schema inﬂuences writing in a second language (Hirose, 2003; Kadar-Fulop, 1988; Kaplan, 1966; Purves, 1988). However, the relationship between culture and writing, and whether cultural rhetorical conventions might transfer from L1 to L2 writing, has not been investigated sufﬁciently in second language writing research. Although Contrastive Rhetoric studies have provided evidence for the inﬂuence of linguistic, cultural, and educational backgrounds on the structures of ESL texts, they have also revealed that these are not the only factors, they are not mutually exclusive from each other, and which type of factor is the most important factor is still not known (Matsuda, 1997). Over the last thirty years, Contrastive Rhetoric has received constant criticisms, mainly resulting from simplistic approaches in research and underestimation of such a challenging and extremely complex research area that ‘‘combines at least three large and complicated areas: writing’’; ‘‘learning and using second languages’’; and ‘‘culture’’ (Atkinson, 2004, p. 278). Therefore, the present study aimed to further explore the relationship between culture and writing in L1 and L2. The study examined whether any cultural writing patterns exist in the argumentative essays of Turkish writers and whether these possible patterns were similar in L1 and L2 writing, using within-subject comparisons to obtain direct evidence. In order to understand the possible links between rhetorical patterns and culture or the transfer of these patterns, not only the written texts, but also the processes underlying the products were examined through stimulated recall interviews. The presence of any Turkish rhetorical preferences or patterns and the nature of any possible transfer was explained in relation to the context of previous writing instruction in L1 and L2, which will serve as the cultural context. Previous research Contrastive Rhetoric (CR) research started with Kaplan’s 1966 pioneering study, which found that speakers of different language backgrounds organized their paragraphs in a unique way related to their L1 background. Kaplan maintained that rhetoric was language and culture speciﬁc, and that L2 rhetorical organization was the result of the transfer of L1 rhetorical organization, which later became the basis for the traditional deﬁnition of Contrastive Rhetoric. Contrastive Rhetoric research has provided evidence that rhetorical conventions and patterns are somewhat related to the cultural backgrounds of the writers. CR research pointed out the presence of some culture-speciﬁc rhetoric patterns such as paragraph organization (Kaplan, 1966); reader-versus-writer responsibility (Hinds, 1987); linear organization structure (Connor, 1987); coordinating conjunctions (Soter, 1988); indirectness devices (Hinkel, 1997, 2002); rhetorical appeals and reasoning strategies (Kamimura & Oi, 1998); and the use of metatext (Mauranen, 1993; Valero-Garces, 1996). However, CR research has been the target of harsh criticisms for being too simplistic in its research methodology and conceptualization of the CR notion (Martin, 1992; Matsuda, 1997); for overgeneralizing and stereotyping about rhetorical conventions (Leki, 1991, 1997); for ignoring L2 developmental variables or the difﬁculties of writing in a second language (Mohan & Lo, 1985); and for considering transfer from L1 as a negative inﬂuence (Kubota, 1998a). In most cases, research comparing only ESL essays or ESL texts and L1 writing could not provide direct evidence for any transfer from L1 to L2, but just inferred existence of transfer. Only a few studies compared the L1 and L2 essays of the same individuals to explore cultural patterns while providing direct evidence for the transfer from L1; however, these studies also had design problems and controversial results. Indrasuta (1988) found some differences between American and Thai students’ narratives in terms of discourse microstructures. While Thai
For example. observe and interview L1 and L2 writers. according to Kubota. and poetic endings. and they also received lower scores on their ESL essays compared to their L1 essays than the dissimilar group. the . Second. digression. Overall. Hirose (2003) suggests that. the Thai group’s L1 and L2 narratives were similar in terms of language use and rhetorical style. these studies also had serious limitations. These results pointed out a possibility of transfer from L2 to L1 writing. p. while investigating language-speciﬁc patterns.H. Hirose (2003). In this case. time) should be considered to better understand the effect of these factors in any transfer. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 185 students wrote only about real events to teach about life and used more descriptions of mental states and highly ﬁgurative language. However.H. Two important studies were conducted with Japanese writers. Therefore. which were also observed in L2 writing. who found a tendency of Turkish university students to use coordination at the levels of modiﬁcation in the logical organization in L1 writing. on the other hand. L2 writing experience and instruction) and task related factors (topic. using a deductive pattern. these CR studies found some evidence for the presence of possible L1 speciﬁc rhetorical preferences. However. First. this ﬁnding was not caused by a negative transfer of the L1 writing pattern. 1996. which contained high occurrences of indirectness. and they had subjects write on the same topics in their L1 and L2 essays. the English major subjects used more subordination and fewer occurrences of coordination than the non-English majors. she concluded that L1 writing skills. Connor also suggests that CR studies include qualitative research methods that will ‘‘investigate both L1 and L2 writing. embellishment. the bilingual subjects (students who attended an English immersion school) wrote more linearly in both languages. the writer-related factors (L2 proﬁciency. Enginarlar’s (1990) study revealed that situation + problem + solution + evaluation was the most common pattern used by the Turkish high school student subjects in both their L1 and L2 expository essays. 50). which makes the claims about any L1-related writing patterns questionable. L2 writing experience. In terms of Turkish rhetorical patterns. any conclusions about non-existence or existence of L1 speciﬁc cultural patterns or their transfer to L2 writing would be questionable. most of these studies used a homogeneous group of subjects in terms of L2 level and L2 writing knowledge. However. However. and study inﬂuences on L1 writing developments’’ to understand contrastive writing (Connor. Hirose attributed this result to the nonexistence of culture-speciﬁc writing patterns for Japanese that are different from those of English. Matsuda (1997) states that. As for the within-analysis results. ‘‘the examination of text alone without asking the writer about his intentions’’ can reveal neither ‘‘the thought patterns’’ of the writers nor ‘‘the rhetorical patterns of L1 written discourse’’ (p. 162). the present study aimed to provide a richer and deeper proﬁle about the presence and transfer of particular writing behaviors through qualitative data collection methods. A similar study was conducted by Oktar (1991). they were mainly text-based. found that English major Japanese students organized both their L1 and L2 essays the same way. and their essay introductions were shorter and more direct than those of the monolingual subjects’ essays. important information about the processes writers go through while making use of their L1 or L2 knowledge and the reasons for their speciﬁc rhetorical behaviors is missing. American students invented stories to captivate readers’ interest and used more verbs of action. subjects that were all highly proﬁcient in L2 and familiar with L2 writing conventions as in Hirose’s study (2003) might have written similarly in L1 and L2 due to the transfer of L2 writing knowledge to L1 writing. Kubota (1998a) found that half of the Japanese subjects used similar patterns in terms of organization and the location of main ideas in their L1 and L2. indicating a possibility of transfer from L2 to L1. Overall. thus. Methods such as think-aloud or stimulated recall interviews were not used. and L2 proﬁciency level affected the quality of ESL organization. Therefore.
1999). was brought into investigation by only two studies—Enginarlar (1990) and Oktar (1991). However. any descriptions that would hold true for the entire Turkish society would be very difﬁcult due to the heterogeneity of the Turkish population resulting from the country’s unique geographic location and historical background (Akarsu. exploring how writing is tied to social structures of a given culture and considering new deﬁnitions of culture. Moreover. only participants who hold at least a B. Akyel and Kamisli (1997) and Atakent (1999). and seven participants had received writing instruction only in Turkish. To ensure that the participants had acceptable knowledge and skills in L1 writing. eight male) who currently live in the U. 1996. 1988. Purves. Therefore. Among these. a small cultural context – Turkish schooling in terms of writing instruction – was chosen to provide a more detailed and accurate cultural picture (Holliday. 1988. also suggested that students could transfer L2 rhetorical knowledge to L1. 2004). who examined student essays before and after they received writing instruction in English. degree from Turkish universities were chosen. 2005. These participants constituted a heterogeneous group in terms of their knowledge and experience in English and in English writing. Li. Severino. Liu. The reason for choosing Turkish schooling as small culture was that writing. the research questions explored were: Are there any common writing preferences or patterns in the argumentative essays of Turkish writers that might be associated with previous writing education? What commonalities and differences exist in rhetorical patterns within participants in their Turkish and English argumentative essays? Methodology Participants Eighteen Turkish native speaker adults (ten female. Research questions Considering the aforementioned limitations of previous studies and new directions in CR research. Kinzer. 1993). The results of these two studies indicated a possibility of transfer from L2 to L1 even greater than the transfer from L1 to L2. the possibility of bidirectional transfer. while contextualizing the ﬁndings. a very important yet neglected area. most CR studies examined the texts in isolation. 2001). Liebman.186 H. Third. 1992. 2004) suggests that CR research should become more context sensitive. were selected from among the research volunteers. 1994. Connor (2002. The bidirectionality of the transfer observed in these studies seemed to be parallel to Hirose and Sasaki’s (1994) ﬁndings in relation to the existence of composing competence regardless of the language used. Thirteen participants were currently in a .S. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 present study recruited a heterogeneous group of subjects in terms of their L2 writing instruction history and L2 level and used different topics in L1 and L2 essays. this study aimed to explain the ﬁndings in relation to the Turkish cultural context. Therefore. unlike previous studies which viewed cultures as national entities (big culture) causing overgeneralizations (Atkinson.H. and the larger cultural context are reported to be strongly related to one another (Kadar-Fulop. writing instruction. eleven participants had formal writing instruction in both Turkish and English. this study also aimed to investigate the existence and nature of bidirectional transfer in more detail. Finally.A. 1999. not in relation to the cultural context that may have played a role in their production.
they were allowed to use a dictionary. Luck has nothing to do with success. 2000.’’ which was rated high in ‘‘informativeness. if they had written on the same topic. Unlike other studies. p. Participants were given 45 minutes to write each essay.) Data collection Multiple data collection methods were used to provide in-depth information and to increase the validity of the ﬁndings by realizing a form of ‘‘data triangulation’’ (Bogdan & Biklen. The topics were selected among the essay prompts of the TOEFL TWE test as Lee. The Turkish essay topic was: ‘‘When people succeed. and Muraki (2004) and Breland.’’ The statement at the end of the TWE topics such as ‘‘use speciﬁc and clear reasons and examples to explain your position’’ was not used in order not to impose any ways of writing on the participants. 19). Therefore. and the others were housewives who had only attended short-term ESL programs or were planning to apply to a graduate program.H. and Muraki (2004) found evidence that overall. The questionnaire was prepared by adjusting and combining the questionnaires used in the Martin (1992) and Liebman (1992) studies. Lee.) The questionnaire was translated into Turkish to enable all participants to better understand the questions. it is because of hard work. Each participant wrote one essay in Turkish and another essay in English in different order to counterbalance the effect of writing order on writing performance. To overcome the semantic and conceptual problems that may stem from the translation of the questionnaire instrument. 1992.H. 1. Do you agree or disagree with the statement above? Argue your position to convince a Turkish reader by using the strategies that you think are appropriate. The rationale for using different topics was that. Background Questionnaire: A questionnaire was given to the participants mainly to obtain information about Turkish and English writing instruction and to establish a context for the explanation of ﬁndings. and they were given a choice of writing by hand or writing on a computer. they should adopt the customs and the lifestyles of the new country to succeed. Breland. and (I3) audiotaped stimulated recall interviews. 2. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 187 graduate program or in a post-doctoral research position in an American university.’’ The English topic was: ‘‘When people move to another country. Najarian. source language transparency and security’’ was employed (Behling & Law. and this would have potentially compromised claims about transfer. Denzin. In the questionnaire. Essays: A total of 36 argumentative essays were produced by the participants to answer the ﬁrst and second research questions. the ‘‘translation/back-translation method. they might have translated from L1 or they might have written in the same way in both compositions. there were also questions related to the participants’ English proﬁciency level. (For more information about the participants. see Appendix A. Audiotaped stimulated recall interviews: The stimulated recall interview method (retrospective protocol) was chosen to collect data about the reasons for participants’ certain choices in their writing. (Please see Appendix B for the Background Questionnaire. The data were collected from three data sources: (I1) A Background Questionnaire about previous L1 and L2 writing instruction. the participants’ English language skills varied from low to high. 19) as ‘‘a participant may be enabled to . (I2) argumentative essays generated by the participants in Turkish and English. Do you agree or disagree with the statement above? Argue your position to convince an American reader by using strategies that you think are appropriate. 1978). Gass and Mackey (2000) suggest that stimulated recall can be used ‘‘to uncover the cognitive processes in L2 research’’ (p. TWE topics have an acceptable level of comparability. participants in this study wrote on two different topics. 3.
the features that previous literature had linked to culture were selected according to the research interests to form a potential framework for the analysis. 1998a. two days after the completion of tasks. and the conclusion in the essays were examined. 1986). stimulated recall interviews were administered within two days after the writing activity to answer the ﬁrst research question. Kubota. 79). Ostler. and functions of the introduction. 1994. however. 1994. b Causation presents ideas both chronologically and causally related. 1954. 2002. but also why it happened (Greene & Higgins. (For sample interview questions. 1987. p. the Background Questionnaire was administered. Finally. like the if-then statements of logic or cause/effect statements like antecedent/consequence. The elements of writing that were considered in the analysis were as follows: 1. Second. Bloom (1954) found that if the stimulated recalls were prompted up to 48 hour after the event. The texts were analyzed qualitatively and by using frequency counts of certain patterns. also cited in Smagorinsky. in the present study. using textual cues that were found and selected from each participant’s essays as a result of a preliminary textual analysis. Macro-level rhetorical structure was investigated because it was claimed that connecting ideas in a deductive and linear way or vice versa (Burtoff. A mixture of Kubota’s (1998a) and Carrel’s (1984) categories based on Meyer’s basic logical relationships model were used as a framework with slight changes. 1983. Webb. . 1994). the presence. a main idea or a point of view for the subsequent argument. The seven categories used were: b ‘‘Collection is a pattern that enumerates or lists concepts and ideas by association. 161. Sasaki. Shavelson. situational factors. recall was 95% accurate. 1990. Data elicitation procedure The data were collected in three sessions with each participant one by one. Oi. Therefore. In terms of overall organization of texts.) Data analysis The present study. b Speciﬁcation has a statement of the theme. pp. 1984. as cited in Kubota. Therefore. which is then explained in more detail by reasons and supporting evidence. 117–118). b Induction presents the main idea toward the end based on the preceding argument which constitutes a premise’’ (original emphasis. & Burstein. b Explanation has a statement of the theme or main idea which is followed by a supporting reason. No strict codiﬁcation schemes were preestablished. aiming for a comprehensive approach to text analysis. Stimulated recall interviews have also been found to be effective and less disruptive to make retrospective reports of thinking and they reveal not only what happened. included some aspects of traditional methods related to cohesion and coherence. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 relive an original situation with vividness and accuracy if presented with a large number of cues or stimuli which occurred during the original situation’’ (Bloom. face-to-face semi-structured stimulated interviews were administered. 1998b) might be a culture-speciﬁc pattern. and writer’s constructive processes’’ and help identify patterns in writing (Greene & Higgins. within the following week. p.H. 2. they provide ‘‘a richer understanding of the relationship among texts. see Appendix C. as well as more global structures of text and more cultural aspects of writing. First. order.188 H. each participant was asked to write two argumentative essays in Turkish and English. body.
certainly’’ or any other explicit expressions between paragraphs (Fulwiler & Hayakawa. Because it is suggested that writers from different cultures might show different degrees of tolerance for digressions (Kaplan. all essays were compared to each other to see if the individual preferences or patterns found were shared by participants. which leaves the responsibility for making the connections between ideas to the reader (Hinds. p. the reasons behind common patterns were analyzed by transcribing. and when two different main ideas were found. 1981). next. a preliminary text analysis for each essay was done by the researcher to see whether an individual participant had any apparent writing preferences or patterns in his/her essays and whether these preferences showed any similarities or differences across his/her Turkish and English essays. coherence at both essay and paragraph levels was investigated. and they must be interpretable as being about a topic which the text as a whole is in fact about’’ (p. 442). furthermore. meanwhile. 1984. Ostler. It was also stated that writers from different cultural backgrounds might differ in terms of providing versus not providing explicit transition signaling. 1998b). but on the basis of opposing viewpoints. ‘‘middle’’ means the thesis statement is in the body of the essay. b Problem-solution has all the features of cause/effect with the additional feature of overlapping content between propositions in the problem and solution. besides. ‘‘ﬁnal’’ means the thesis statement is in the conclusion. 1984. they must be related to an underlying DT in terms of aboutness. The ideas are organized on the basis not of time or causality. 1984. as cited in Kubota. thus. such as ‘‘also. accordingly.H. and the two locations were noted (p. Kubota’s (1998a) categories for the location of main ideas in persuasive essays were used as a guide. The other coders were two native English speaking doctoral candidates who had been teaching rhetoric classes and tutoring in the writing center in an American university for several years. The Background Questionnaire about the . In order to conﬁrm the results and to reduce the subjectivity of the study. ﬁrst. 27). 1997. after all the data were collected. 1983. 1966. adversative or alternative relation. One or more propositional elements of the solution can neutralize a causal antecedent of the problem’’ (Carrel. To provide information for topic development and speciﬁc organization of ideas. likewise. First. Giora’s (1983) more meaning-driven thematic approach to text coherence that suggests looking at segments in terms of their ‘‘aboutness’’ and ‘‘relevance’’ to a discourse topic was used as a framework. but also by two other coders. 3. both of them were considered as main ideas. nevertheless. moreover. According to Kubota. In terms of coherence. 5. similarly. instead.H. Clyne. grouping and describing the articulated reasons in the stimulated recall interviews to see which factors had inﬂuenced participants’ writing choices. indeed. 392). 1990. p. Therefore. ‘‘initial’’ means the thesis statement is in the introduction paragraph. consequently. 1987). Oi. 4. therefore. presence and location of thesis statement was also examined. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 189 b Comparison shows a pattern that contains two elements arranged in a compare/contrast. however. the texts were analyzed not only by the researcher. then. Finally. ‘‘Text segments with different Discourse Topics should meet the relevance requirement. 1987. 79). otherwise. ‘‘collection’’ refers to essays in which the writer’s opinion is expressed in more than one location. ﬁnally. After the text analysis. the use of transition signaling was explored through counting the occurrences of conjunctive adverbs. Previous research claimed that introducing the thesis statement immediately at the beginning or in different locations was a possible culture-speciﬁc feature (Kobayashi.
and petitions and essays (72%). and only then argumentative topics (39%). research papers (82%). Induction was another commonly used pattern in English. body. Then. Survey results indicated that the preference for the speciﬁcation pattern in Turkish essays might be related to the types of writing and the topics the participants were given in writing classes. he used the problem–solution pattern in his English essay. writing about historical or national topics such as Ataturk’s principles or national holidays (72%).H. induction (28%) and problem–solution patterns (22%) were also common. As argumentative writing activities would require more complicated macro-rhetorical developments. but not in his Turkish essay. . and the use of it more by participants who received English writing instruction than participants who did not.190 H. the ﬁndings of the survey were correlated with shared preferences and with the results of the stimulated recall interview in order to see whether previous writing education had any relationship with common patterns. In Turkish writing classes. no speciﬁc questions related to this category were posed to the participants. Because analysis of macro-level rhetorical patterns could not be done prior to the interviews. 2. Similarly. In English writing instruction. However. Macro-level rhetorical pattern: Speciﬁcation was the most commonly used macro-level rhetorical pattern in especially Turkish (67% of the essays). as reported by the respondents. Research Question #1 Are there any common writing preferences or patterns in the argumentative essays of Turkish writers that might be associated with previous writing education? 1. Overall organization: In terms of overall organization. argumentation (100%). These common writing tasks and topics would deﬁnitely not require a rhetorical pattern more complicated than explanation or speciﬁcation. 14. and argumentative topics (91%) were very common. For possible reasons for that. a saying. such as differences between writing instruction in Turkish and English. which did not have an introduction. and the most common topics were explaining a proverb. Results Due to the broad scope of the study. or a maxim of Ataturk (78%). one participant (Berk) said in the interview that. summaries (78%). but also in English essays (33%). regardless of the writing instructional history of participants. only the important ﬁndings of the text analysis for each rhetorical pattern are presented along with the related survey and stimulated recall interview results in order to contextualize textual ﬁndings and to understand the reasons behind them. p. Interview and survey results revealed that all participants had learned organizing essays around an introduction. in English essays. this might be a reason for the problem-solution pattern occurring twice as much in English than in Turkish essays. all participants had an introduction. see the section on thesis statements. however. the most common writing tasks were short answers in exams (94%). However. especially in English writing classes. and conclusion in both Turkish and English composition classes. body. and conclusion in both their Turkish and English essays except for one participant’s English essay. he learned strategies regarding how to pose a problem and solve it. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 cultural context was analyzed by calculating frequency of markings in closed-ended questions and mentioned points in open-ended questions.
However. . In the interview. Regardless of their writing instructional history. 69 (67%) had some transition signaling (37 in Turkish. Coherence: At essay level. Education seemed to have a role in the presence and positioning of thesis statements only to a certain extent. they all positioned their thesis statements initially. Interview results indicated that the use of transition signaling was mainly related to previous English writing education and/or familiarity with English texts. ‘‘. and except for two of them. in some cases. In the survey. but who were in a graduate program. formulaic.H. 94% of the paragraphs. in English essays. 5.g. Table 1 Between subject analysis for placement of thesis statements Turkish Participants Location of thesis statement Initial Middle Final Collection Two or more different theses Obscure 13 0 4 1 0 0 Percentage 72 0 22 6 0 0 English Participants 5 0 7 6 0 0 Percentage 28 0 39 33 0 0 . and at paragraph level. However. all essays. Six of them remembered the place as initial and three participants as ﬁnal. p. participants preferred an initial use of thesis statement resulting in deductive and straightforward topic development in Turkish (72%) essays. ten participants (56%) said they learned to put a thesis statement in their compositions in Turkish classes. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 191 3. Fifty-ﬁve percent of the participants who received English writing instruction also mentioned connectives as one of the requirements for effective organization in English in the survey. the participants who did not receive any formal English writing instruction. thus. In addition. Placement of the main ideas: All essays had a thesis statement either in an explicit direct way in one sentence or in a less direct way in one or more sentences. 24). . this story brings to my mind an example’’ in Turkish versus ‘‘for example’’ in English). Two participants also said they knew it from TOEFL books or ESL classes. said they often recognize this feature in scientiﬁc articles in English and use it in their writing. Transition signaling was used more extensively by the participants who were exposed to English writing education. 4. all participants said they had learned about coherence as a rule in both Turkish and English writing classes. in the survey. no preference for digression was found. These participants placed the thesis in their Turkish essays according to how they stated they had learned the location in Turkish classes.H. participants tended to have inductive developments (39%) or collections (33%) rather than initial thesis statements (28%) (see Table 1. and 32 in English). were coherent. Similarly. and in English writing classes by seven out of eleven participants (64%) who had received English writing instruction. participants who said they did not learn this rule in Turkish also had a thesis statement in their Turkish essays. paragraph-level coherence was marked as an emphasized feature in Turkish classes by twelve participants (67%). Transition signaling: Participants used transition signaling frequently in their essays. and more explicit in English than they were in the Turkish essays (e. Among 103 body and conclusion paragraphs. The ten participants (91%) who received writing instruction in English stated that they learned about transition signaling in English writing classes. and the transitions were shorter.
only ﬁve participants positioned their thesis statements in the same location in the Turkish and English essays. original. Differences between L1 and L2 essays particularly came into play in the location of the thesis statements. For example. however. Fifteen participants who had transition signaling in Turkish often had transition signaling in English essays. all participants who had an English writing education said they learned that they should have a thesis statement at the beginning of their compositions. The separate example pattern was also observed in six participants’ Turkish and English essays although it was used more in Turkish essays (16 essays) than in English essays (10) (see Table 2. and conclusion. although all participants had thesis statements in both their essays. or practical. and because the example speaks for itself. Although it was revealed by the interview that this structure was not explicitly taught in either Turkish or English writing classes. Research Question #2 What commonalities and differences exist in rhetorical patterns within participants in their Turkish and English argumentative essays? L1 and L2 essays of participants demonstrated both similarities and differences according to different categories. coherence. for example. but used it in their Turkish essays. p. emotional state. For example. but also in English essays. When participants were asked in the interview why they used different locations for their thesis statements in their Turkish and English essays. This paragraph division by twelve participants resulted in obscure topics (no topic sentences) in the following paragraphs. It was also found that when the participants thought the topic was abstract. For example. body. Surprisingly. . similarities between L1 and L2 essays were observed in fewer participants’ essays. writer–topic interaction. In terms of macro-level rhetorical patterns. almost all participants wrote coherent essays in both L1 and L2 around an introduction.H. but with equal or less frequency. eight participants seemed to have formed a belief that presenting an example in a new paragraph would make it more effective. In the survey. this lack of emphasis on topic sentences in Turkish might be a reason for the ﬁnding that 23 paragraphs had obscure topic sentences especially in Turkish. subjective. Separate example paragraph pattern: An interesting pattern – writing topic sentences and examples in separate paragraphs or starting the paragraph with an example – was found in 17 essays and 26 (16 Turkish. appealing. although it was easy for her to use that knowledge in Turkish. it was also found that having a topic sentence in a paragraph was not an emphasized feature in Turkish writing classes (marked by only 28% of participants). However. For some reason. Similarities were observed especially in terms of overall organization. and audience played a role in the positioning of thesis statements. 6. Thus. seven participants (39%) had similar macro-level rhetorical patterns in both their essays as the main or secondary pattern.192 H. and transition signaling. one participant (Sinem) said she knew the rule of initial thesis statement from her English classes. 24). 10 English) paragraphs. participants did not use their knowledge regarding the initial use of thesis statements in their English essays. she completely forgot about this rule while writing in English as she was busy with grammar concerns. for other categories. Other reasons were found to be related to the essay topic and previous reading experiences. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 When asked whether they learned that they should have a thesis statement in their English writing classes. it is unnecessary to use a topic sentence along with the example. it was found that L2 level. only three of them put their thesis in an initial position in their English essays.
participants who went deeper in their thinking. example paragraph II. example paragraph with multiple examples Total: 16 paragraphs II. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 Table 2 Within-subject analysis for separate example paragraph pattern in L1 and L2 essays Turkish Ayse Sebnem Ali Sinem Merve Esen Berk Irem Ufuk Zafer Derya Leyla II. example paragraph III. respectively. The more they were hesitant about the topic. and Banu). is the second paragraph. and Berk). Sedat. the more inductive their essays became (Ali. Discussion and conclusion Despite the fact that the participants constituted a heterogeneous group in terms of their English level and their history of L2 writing education. V are all separate example paragraphs III. starts with a counter example III. The commonalities or preferences in rhetorical patterns were observed particularly in terms of a number of factors: participants’ organizing essays around an introduction. IV both start with an example II. and transition signaling. starts with an example III.H. example paragraph III. example paragraph II. and . IV. and considered all dimensions of the topic could not put the thesis at the beginning (Sebnem. starts with an example IV. and 92% and 95% for analyzing thesis statements and topic sentences. example paragraph II. example paragraph II.H. body. and was not able to decide what side to take in the argument they delayed the thesis statements. Ali. and various factors were found to be inﬂuential in the use of similar versus different patterns in essays of each individual. example paragraph II. Also. The patterns were often linked to educational context. fearing that the American audience would not understand their point. e. The intercoder reliability was 83% for analyzing macro-level rhetorical pattern. and relative. coherence. example paragraph with two examples III. In terms of similarities in L1 and L2 essays of the participants. starts with example III. but other factors were also found to play roles in the shape of the texts. example paragraph IV. example paragraph III. Coders reached full agreement for the analysis of overall organization.g. example paragraph II. IV. Esen. counter example paragraph English 193 III. they still demonstrated some common rhetorical patterns in their essays as well as individual differences. the patterns showed similarities for some categories more than others. II. V are all separate example paragraphs Roman numerals stand for the sequence of the paragraph. example paragraph Total: 10 paragraphs II. Two participants (Ali and Taner) also said that because they were writing to an American audience in the English essay. they felt the need to include more explanations before they stated their thesis. included philosophical and emotional elements.
and conclusion with similar functions to English: an introduction presenting the main idea and conclusion ending the discussion with a suggestion. and the use of transition devices were similar to the stereotyped English ways of writing reported by previous research. using speciﬁcation as the macro-level rhetorical pattern in the Turkish essays. Again. many exceptions and individual preferences were also found. or summary of the argument. having initial. For example. particularly in English. use of overall organization and coherence in both essays was directly linked to writing education in both L1 and L2 writing classes. The use of frequent transition signaling in the essays was also found to be related to previous writing instruction. 1998b). comparison. the participants’ essays and paragraphs were coherent with use of frequent transition devices similar to traditional English writing. body. Matalane. the connections were not that salient. macro-level rhetorical pattern and coherence. participants not only used speciﬁcation. might have roots in Turkish writing instruction in which the writing topics and writing . Kimura and Kondo (2004) also found that obscure and multiple different topic sentences were used by Japanese writers. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 conclusion. In terms of the relationship between the common preferences and the educational context. it is also important to note that. For example. but that they were probably not emphasized as much. and induction. The common use of speciﬁcation. as participants stated that they did not feel the need to include a topic sentence along with examples because their examples were effective enough to speak for themselves. Turkish participants might have assumed and expected that readers would make the connections between the example and the argument by themselves. and starting their paragraphs with examples. However. and by Japanese writing instruction that is not detailed and speciﬁc in terms of paragraph-level organization (Kimura & Kondo. on the other hand. The common preferences of participants regarding overall organization.H. In addition. 1983. besides these common patterns. which allows multiple topic sentences in a paragraph. Therefore. 2004). using transition devices between paragraphs. For example. similar to Turkish writing education. the participants tended to organize especially their Turkish essays using speciﬁcation—a popular Western pattern as it is ‘‘front loaded. Five participants demonstrated digression at paragraph level. Nevertheless. similar to Japanese and Chinese writers (Hinds. one participant did not have transition signaling in any of the essays.194 H. The common use of obscure topic sentences or presenting only examples without a topic sentence in the present study might be a sign of reader responsibility. restatement. were also observed in the present study. obscure. especially in Turkish essays. 1985). In short. and a few participants had middle positioning of topic sentences in their paragraphs. it cannot be claimed that transitions were non-existent in Turkish writing. and ﬁnal thesis statements and collections of thesis statements in English essays. strong and direct connections were found for some categories. Turkish participants’ essays followed the linear order of introduction. However. which was not consistent with the stereotyped English writing. participants demonstrated some rhetorical preferences similar to both stereotyped English and Asian writing preferences surprisingly parallel to Turkey’s geographical location right in the middle of West and East. as various other factors were inﬂuential in writing as well. but for others. because almost all participants who were both familiar and not familiar with English writing used this feature. as it was explicitly and strongly encouraged by English writing teachers.’’ introducing the thesis statement and then providing explanation and evidence for the argument (Kubota. writing coherently. possibly inﬂuenced by the ‘‘danraku’’ style. a tendency to use obscure topic sentences and collections of topic sentences. having initial thesis statements in Turkish. but also other macro-level rhetorical patterns in their essays such as problem–solution. or collection of topic sentences in their paragraphs.
S. or both. Frequent use of transition signaling in essays was likely to be transferred from English to Turkish. In terms of the use of thesis statements. L2. initial thesis statements could be observed only in the Turkish essays. who found evidence for transfer of L2 knowledge to Turkish. These results are consistent with Enginarlar (1990). On the other hand. and Atakent (1999). However. might have been related to high instances of obscure topic sentences and separate example paragraphs in both essays similar to the ﬁndings of Kimura and Kondo’s study (2004) that suggested a link between ambiguous Japanese writing education at paragraph level and obscure topic sentences in Japanese essays. on the other hand. Participants especially did not apply their knowledge about the initial positioning of thesis statement while writing in L2. which was described as very general and ambiguous. coherence. even by participants who had very low L2 language levels. The similarities found in some patterns or preferences in Turkish and English essays of the same individuals’ essays point out the possibility of transfer across languages. they did not use their L2 knowledge in other categories in either essay. on the other hand. L1 and L2 writing skills. regardless of their L2 level. essay topic. and transition signaling into both their essays. The interview and survey results provided further evidence for the possibility of transfer as they revealed whether the pattern had its roots in L1. as mentioned earlier. and all participants who received English writing instruction said they learned about this rule in English writing classes. Other factors such as L2 level. L2 proﬁciency was found to be an important reason for participants’ not being able to use their writing knowledge in L1 and L2. However. were used effortlessly in both essays. and audience were found to play role in the locations of thesis statements rather than previous writing instruction as a result of the stimulated recall interviews. it was also found that even the participants who were proﬁcient in L2 as they currently study in doctoral programs in the U. but not for the others due to various factors. had problems using certain features. it was also found that. These ﬁndings provided support for the claims of CR regarding the relationship between culture and writing. Other features such as transitions. such as initial thesis statements in their L2 writing. Oktar (1991). These ﬁndings contrast with Hirose’s (2003) study in which Japanese students used a deductive organizational pattern in both their L1 and L2 essays. All participants. as in some categories cultural connections seemed to not be straightforward and simple. These results might indicate that. the separate example paragraph patterns and having obscure and collections of topic sentences were probably transferred from Turkish to English. in addition to a L1 to L2 transfer. the situation was more complicated. transfer in the use of macro-level rhetorical patterns and location of main ideas at essay and paragraph levels was interrupted. More than half the participants said they learned to write thesis statements in Turkish classes. but complicated.H. it was also found that cultural context is not the only factor that determines the way participants write. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 195 types practiced such as writing about national holidays were consistent with use of that macrolevel pattern. while participants could easily transfer information from English to Turkish in some categories. and their previous L2 writing history. if there is a threshold necessary for . knowledge and skills related to overall organizational patterns and coherence were probably transferred in both directions. For example. However. However. however. could easily make use of their knowledge about overall organization structure. In terms of similarities in Turkish and English essays of participants. However. Turkish writing education. writing on the same topic and having similar L2 levels and L2 writing instruction histories might have caused the parallelism in L1 and L2 essays of Hirose’s subjects. participants used similar patterns for some categories.H.
Another limitation was the subjectivity inherent in the analysis of texts. and individual or emotional factors articulated by participants. for the category related to initial topic sentences. or subjects’ graduate programs of study. thus. revealed that process-oriented qualitative methodologies can contribute to understanding which observed patterns in texts stem from cultural inﬂuences and which patterns stem from other factors such as L2 level. Another explanation for this might be related to the fact that the degree of the participants’ L1 and L2 writing knowledge and experiences differed from one category to another. were sources for not being able to use L1 or L2 writing knowledge in L2 writing. It is also misleading to examine the L1 essays of people with previous L2 writing knowledge. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 the transfer of L1 writing skills to L2. the results cannot be generalized to other types of writing. as transfer from L2 to L1 can cause contamination. L1 writing knowledge and a lack of writing experience in L2 might have inﬂuenced participants’ writing. on the other hand. the current direction seems to be large corpus studies as suggested by Connor and Moreno (2005) based on structured linguistic analysis. and so on. but as Kubota (1998a) also suggested. then that threshold might be higher for transferring certain patterns than others. In the present study. besides L2 related problems. they were only ﬁrst drafts. as the essays were written in argumentative mode for a speciﬁc purpose. inexperience in L2 writing with the use of certain patterns. as well as other factors. if we had just examined L2 essays for the location of thesis statements. such as topic. the best way is to look at the L1 texts of participants who have no prior knowledge about L2 writing.H. In order to explore language or culturally speciﬁc writing patterns. despite the fact that the participants used deductive organization in their L1 essays. Therefore.196 H. participants might have had lower L1 knowledge due to superﬁcial and vague instruction in L1. It would be very misleading to examine L2 essays of a language group. Secondly. Possibly because of these criticisms regarding problems with objectivity in CR research. Moreover. For example. we could have falsely concluded that Turkish writers write inductively. it is hoped that future studies will take this suggestion into consideration. the results should be approached cautiously. L2 proﬁciency was not the only reason that hampered the use of L1 or L2 knowledge of writing in the essays. topic. although this subjectivity was attempted to be reduced by correlating three readers’ coding. No signiﬁcant difference was found in the patterns and their transfer among participants according to gender. audience. Implications and suggestions for further research Most Contrastive Rhetoric studies have received criticism. the essays were produced in a limited time. writing order. Therefore. previous history of ESL versus EFL writing instruction. as developmental factors in L2 proﬁciency and many other factors might play a role in the shape of L2 essays. This study. inadequate L1 writing education. audience concerns. mainly due to research designs that analyzed texts merely based on researchers’ impressions or made claims about L1 to L2 transfer by just looking at L2 essays. Therefore. the patterns found cannot be claimed to be the cultural representations of Turkish writing. . Limitations of the study Due to the small sample size. For example. but not process-oriented qualitative research. in the present study. writing on computer versus by hand. as well as having inadequate opportunities to practice this feature in English.
Composing in ﬁrst and second languages: Possible effects of EFL writing instruction. Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods (2nd ed. MA: Allyn & Bacon. A. Acknowledgments I would like to thank Carol Severino. subjects should also be grouped according to their L2 proﬁciency and L2 writing education history. Behling. 315–329). CA: Sage Publications.). it is hoped that the present study will contribute to the attempts to formulate a comprehensive theory of second language writing. Thousand Oaks. F. (1992). Atkinson. (1997). Odense working papers in language and communication. Denmark: Odense University Press. (1999). S. However. Michael Everson. Unpublished master’s thesis. S. 49–63. Atkinson. & Biklen. 12(1). Accent on teaching: Experiments in general education (pp. Bogdan. 23–46). Contrasting rhetorics/contrasting cultures: Why contrastive rhetoric needs a better conceptualization of culture. D. (2003a). K. Longitudinal case studies investigating Turkish writers’ learning processes of academic English writing conventions would also be helpful to reveal more details about the relationship between culture and writing and the reasoning behind certain writing behaviors this present study might have overlooked. S.). . and they should write on different topics to better understand how these various factors interact with each other during any possible transfer of cultural patterns across writing. Mazurek. A. and the reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this paper. James A. Berlin. O. Winzer. Bloom. Odense. M. Majorek (Eds.. 3–15. The present study revealed that many different factors interact with each other and play a role in the ﬁnal shape of written texts. The thought processes of students in discussion. 2003b). Conclusions With the increasing popularity of social and genre theories of writing.. Boston: Allyn & Bacon . Translating questionnaires and other research instruments: Problems and solutions. Journal of Second Language Writing. Turkey: The Middle East Technical University. Ilona Leki. Education in a global society: A comparative perspective (pp. cultural–educational factors still were found to constitute an important part of second language writing processes and products. R. Atkinson. Boston. (2004). 14 (p. and cultural factors are only a part of the big picture. Kathy Heilenman. (1999). Ankara. (2000). & Kamisli.. Leslie Schrier. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 197 While investigating transfer from L1 to L2 and vice versa. (1984).H. Writing and culture in the post-process era. References Akarsu. French (Ed. B. 69–105). and Anne DiPardo for their invaluable feedback that improved the study. Atakent. Writing instruction in nineteenth-century American colleges.. L2 writing in the post-process era. & C. Transition and education: A case study of the process of change in Turkey. 277–289. the focus of attention has turned to social and cultural factors that play a role in writing (Atkinson. Therefore. (2003b). 12(1). Journal of English for Academic Purposes. I would also like to thank Carol Severino. Journal of Second Language Writing. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. C. Further research on Turkish cultural writing patterns should investigate each rhetorical category with more subjects to see if the patterns found hold true for a larger population with implications for a larger cultural context. while pointing out that CR is an indispensable area for second language writing research and has important potentials that should be utilized. The effects of teaching L2 rhetorical organization on Turkish freshman students’ L1 expository writing. D. In K. K. & Law. Akyel.H. which has helped CR gain new momentum. New York: Harper. In S.). J. 3(4). D. 2003a. (1954).
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Towards a theory of text for contrastive rhetoric: An introduction to issues of text for students. English is taught only for 3–4 hours a week. (1993). (1996). Sasaki. L. has been in the US for 2 years... Severino. The Writing Center Journal. C. 177–205). Thousand Oaks. 15(4). Oktar. 19). P. Albany: State University of New York Press. In A.H. O. K.). but in English medium high schools it is taught for at least 8 hours a week. R. 14(1). following a preparation class in which English is taught for 24 hour a week. English for Speciﬁc Purposes. Liu. & Lo. (1992). A. Information about participants Note: In general and vocational high schools in Turkey. B. X. Writing across languages and cultures: Issues in contrastive rhetoric (pp. C. Building an empirically based model of EFL learners’ writing processes. Liebman. in Embroidery Teaching. dissertation. CA: Sage Publications. 141–165. Purves. self-evaluation.). (1985). Unpublished Ph. etc. New directions for research in L2 writing (pp. Contrastive rhetoric: An American writing teacher in China. The second language learner and cultural transfer in narration. student Communication Studies in the US. B. Contrastive ESP rhetoric: Metatext in Finnish-English economics texts. Journal of Second Language Writing. Appendix A. 1. None (skipped the preparatory class where writing instruction was given) . stayed in Britain for 2 years. currently a housewife. ranks her English 9/10.A. Barbier (Eds. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. ‘‘Good writing’’ in cross-cultural context. 9–21).). J. Purves (Ed. Speaking about writing: Reﬂections on research methodology (pp. length and quality of Formal writing English instruction in Turkey. TESOL Quarterly. 49–80). Dordrecht. Ransdell & M. (1993). Thousand Oaks. Introduction: Potential problems and problematic potentials of using talk about writing as data about writing process.. In S. Contrastive rhetoric in context: A dynamic model of L2 writing. Webb. Sebnem Went to an English medium high school in Turkey. Writing in multicultural settings (pp. 1–18. Journal of Second Language Writing. Izmir.). Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 199 Leki. 45–60. Contrastive ESP rhetoric: Metatext in Spanish–English economics texts. 789–808. 6(1). W. Wittrock (Ed.-Y. 19. NY: The Modern Language Association of America. I. ix– xix). (1991). Matsuda. 279–294.H. (1985). E. Soter.D. L. 47(8). Guerra. P. J. College English. Purves (Ed. A. Mauranen.). CA: Sage Publications.). 44–61. (2005). in English literature.) instruction in L2 None Education-vocation B. Li. English for Speciﬁc Purposes. 515–534. (2002). Butler (Eds.A. C. 25. (1986). 3–22. Shavelson. Toward a new contrastive rhetoric: Differences between Arabic and Japanese rhetorical instruction. 5 years of English instruction in a vocational high school in Turkey (3 hours a week).D.A. Smagorinsky. In C. J. Leki. In M. 234–244). Turkey: Ege University. Twenty-ﬁve years of contrastive rhetoric. Measurement of teaching. 123–143. Mohan. (1988). Rhetorical education through writing instruction across cultures: A comparative analysis of select online instructional materials on argumentative writing. Writing across languages and cultures: Issues in contrastive rhetoric (pp. & J. Journal of Second Language Writing. Vol. in Cultural Studies from Britain. NY: American University Studies. Severino. Name Ayse English level (length of stay in the US. (1997). (1997). N. TESOL Quarterly. C. & Burstein. I. M. Introduction. (1994). The Doodles in context: Qualifying claims of CR. Martin. C. (1992). L. 12.A. has been in the US for 5 years. (1988). Handbook of research on teaching. Cross-talk: ESL issues and contrastive rhetoric. In: P. currently Ph. NY: Macmillan. (1991). CA: Sage Publications. A. J. Academic writing and Chinese students: Transfer and developmental factors. M. Contrastive analysis of speciﬁc rhetorical relations in English and Turkish expository paragraph writing. practitioners of contrastive rhetoric (Series XIII. Valero-Garces. M. 14(1). 3 months of ESL course in the US. L. M. In A. Smagorinsky (Ed. ranks her English 5 out of 10. (1996). Matalane. Thousand Oaks.
ranks her English as 5/10. in Physical Engineering.A. ranks his English level 9/10. student in Economics in the US. but then an English medium university in Turkey. in Economics. Merve Esen Erdem Went to an English medium high school and partly English medium university. ranks his English as 9/10. has been in the US for 1 year. currently Ph. Yes (both in Turkey B. has been in the US for 1.5 years. has been in the US for 1. Yes B. in ElectricalElectronic Engineering. Yes B.A. Yes Irem Yes Ufuk Yes Zafer Yes Banu Attended a general high school and Turkish medium university. Went to a general high school. but then an English medium university. has been in the US for 1.5 years.A. Berk Went to an English medium high school and a university in Turkey. B. ranks his English 8/10. in Physics. B. None B. Ph. student in Psychology. has been in the US for 3. Sedat Sinem Went to a general high school.A. None (skipped the B. self-evaluation. student in Physics in the US.5 years. Graduated from an English medium high school and university.5 years. student in Economics in the US.A.D. length and quality of Formal writing English instruction in Turkey. ranks her English 7/10. Ph.5 years. student in Economics in the US.H. English medium high school and university.D. has been in the US for 3. Ph.200 H. in ElectricalElectronic Engineering. in Physics. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 Appendix A (Continued ) Name Ali English level (length of stay in the US.A.A. in English Language Education. published several articles in English. B.D. Yes B. went to ESL classes for three semesters in the US.D. currently Ph. ranks his English as 8/10. has been in the US for 4 years. None . Attended several short-term ESL classes in churches.) instruction in L2 Went to an English medium junior high school and then a science high school in Turkey. student in Physics in the US. currently a post-doc researcher. has just applied for MA in computer sciences. in Physics. in Agricultural Engineering.D. has been in the US for a month. B. Attended a general high school. English major in the university. B. but then went to an English medium university. Yes Education-vocation Okan Went to a general high school.A.D.A. currently Ph.A. ranks her English 6/10. ranks his English as 10/10. Currently a housewife. in Economics and Mathematics.D.A. in Psychology preparatory class) and Biology. and in the US) currently a Ph. ranks his English 8/10. has been in the US for 3 months. student in Foreign Language Education in US. ranks her English 7/10. ranks her English as 5/10. and took ESL classes for 1 year. and M.A.A. Attended a general high school and a Turkish medium University. Ph. in Physics from an American University. student in Physics in the US. currently Ph. B. has been in the US for 3 months. etc.D. Attended an English medium high school and University. in Economics.D.
Yes (as a part of TOEFL preparation program and has been going to Writing Center in the US) None Education-vocation B. Derya Leyla Attended a religious high school in Turkey.A. length and quality of Formal writing English instruction in Turkey.) instruction in L2 Attended a general high school and a Turkish medium university.A. self-evaluation. in Science Education. etc. M. has been in the US for 2 years. Has been in the US for 1. Attended a TOEFL preparation course for a year in Turkey. has been in the US for 4 years. in Biology Education. Nevin Yes (as part of TOEFL preparation program. in Theology. ranks her English as 5/10.H. Ph. has been in the US for 4. in Agricultural Engineering. Went to a general high school and a Turkish medium university. ranks her English as 4/10. currently a housewife. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 201 Appendix A (Continued ) Name Taner English level (length of stay in the US. ranks his English as 6/10. student in Science Education in US.H.5 years.A.D. in Plant Protection and Entomology. B.D. Attended a TOEFL preparation course for a year in Turkey. student in Science Education in US. attended ESL classes in churches for a few months.A.5 years. Attended two ESL classes at college. B. ranks her English as 5/10. Went to a general high school and a Turkish medium university. has been going to Writing Center in the US) None . B.A. currently a housewife. Ph.
H. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 Appendix B.202 H. Background Questionnaire .
H. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 203 .H.
Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 .H.204 H.
. hard work may also help) + reason (for how luck may inﬂuence success). understanding and respecting the differences between cultures might be helpful. 2nd topic sentence (complementary to the ﬁrst topic sentence): ‘‘there is a positive correlation between being able to communicate with people and success.’’ 3rd topic sentence: ‘‘I still keep my traditions and lifestyle among Americans. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 205 Appendix C. I think luck plays an important place in success . Example (a short story about two of his friends to support luck). English essay Introduction: General information and description about the people who adapt vs.H. people who preserve their own culture.’’ II. the easier it gets to communicate with them’’ + reason (because otherwise as a foreigner you can offend people). Turkish essay Introduction: A short explanation/description about what luck and success mean + thesis statement: ‘‘I think luck plays a big role in a person’s success. paragraph: Example (a story about his experiences in the US to support keeping one’s own customs).. Conclusion: Restating the claim. ‘‘In conclusion. 1st topic sentence: ‘‘the more you know about the American lifestyle.’’ . I do not think that there is a correlation between being successful and adopting the customs of a new country. Sample stimulated recall interview questions (Ali’s case) An outline of Ali’s Turkish and English essays. paragraph: Example (imaginary story) + topic sentence Conclusion: Thesis statement—‘‘Therefore. Development: I. Answering the above question summarizing his view.’’ Development: I. A question to the reader. However. . which I do not think had a bad inﬂuence on my career’’ + reason (actually they appreciate differences—this is cultural richness) II. IV. III. paragraph: Topic sentence (luck is not the only reason for success.H.
In general. In your English essay. Also. 5. I do not know. In fact. but here (in the US) I understood that if you follow certain rules. Why did you organize this paragraph that way? . I should have divided that paragraph into two. writing a topic sentence at the beginning of a paragraph and then giving examples. it is necessary to reverse that paragraph. introducing your topic in the ﬁrst paragraph. but I do not remember anything like that in Turkish. I could have combined it with my conclusion paragraph and after comparing the two ideas I could have said that the key to success is not adapting. I could not decide which side I will take.Oh. but not in Turkish. In Turkish. so in English I believe that I should explain the subject ﬁrst and then start writing my own ideas. teachers were interested in such things. Then why did not you apply your knowledge about the initial topic sentences in your essays? . Maybe I am afraid that a foreigner would not understand me. using connectives such as nevertheless and summarizing your idea in conclusion and talking about the same idea again . writing was more important in English. yes. 6. Why? . The idea below should go to the beginning of the paragraph. In English. I do not fear that the reader would not understand me while writing in Turkish at all. In Turkey. the most common writing topic was explaining a proverb and the only way you can do was by giving examples. What would your English writing instructor say if he saw that paragraph? . you have more than one main idea. I wrote most of my writings in English because you have to revise a piece of writing for ﬁfty times and then you learn better ways to write your ideas. 4. in the second paragraph. . Was that something your Turkish or English writing teachers taught you? . your thesis statement is in the introduction part in your Turkish essay.206 H. 3. 7. 2.I think I forgot that in the ﬂow of writing. There is problem with the focus of the paragraph. 8. How about your Turkish writing instructor? . Why did you do that? .I really don’t know. you can write. . In the survey you stated that starting an essay with a thesis statement was a feature you learned in English writing classes. you give examples from your life such as once I did not throw something and then I needed it later. we did not do that. your paragraphs start with an example or your paragraphs are consisted of only examples. . What were these things your English teachers were interested in? Can you give me some examples for the writing rules your English writing instructor speciﬁcally emphasized? . While I am writing in English I feel a need to introduce and explain the topic ﬁrst. but respecting others.. I do not remember teachers saying anything about that. However. I had a strong opinion about the Turkish topic. I also learned most of my writing knowledge in English lessons. but in English essay.I think this is related to the language of the essay. Or. my ideas developed while I was writing. Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 Sample interview questions and answers: 1.For example. For example if they ask you to explain what ‘‘ keep the hay and its time will come’’ means. but it comes at the end in your English composition.H. She would divide it.She would correct it.While we were writing in Turkish at school. I used to think that only people who have a special talent could write.I don’t know.
and teacher education. . Uysal / Journal of Second Language Writing 17 (2008) 183–207 207 Hacer Hande Uysal is currently a researcher and lecturer at Gazi University. She received her master’s degree in English education and her PhD in foreign language/ESL education from the University of Iowa. language planning. Her research interests are second language writing. and phonetics.H. she is teaching classes on advanced writing. oral communication skills. Currently. She also taught English in public and private schools at primary and secondary levels in Turkey for six years. Turkey. Ankara.H.