An analysis of problem areas in advanced Chinese EFL composition writing : with recommendations for teaching

  • Li Zhang

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The major concern of the Field Study is the teaching of composition, with particular reference to Chinese foreign language institutes. Robert B. Kaplan (1966), having analyzed the rhetorical behaviours of several linguistic groups, claims that different cultures develop different rhetorical conventions, which influence the non-English native speaker’s way of writing in English. Recent years have witnessed many developments in language teaching as a result of research done in sociolinguistics, yet the implication of Kaplan’s finding for EFL teaching is still unexplored. This paper thus intends to examine this issue of “cultural differences in the nature of rhetoric” by comparing the Chinese linguistic system with the English linguistic system in terms of rhetorical organization in exposition. The following aspects are to be discussed. In the first place, an introduction delineates the need for this Study, its aims, scope and sources of data. After the Introduction, there is a brief review of the EFL composition teaching in China and the influence of overseas composition teaching in foreign language institutes in China today. An attempt is then made to study Kaplan’s theory by exploring both Chinese and English rhetorical patterns and devices. The emphasis of this chapter is on a comparison and contrast of expository modes and strategies in the two rhetorics. Having studied rhetorical principles in a broad sense, the report narrows its focus to the differences in their use of English rhetorical devices between Australian English native speakers and foreign language learners from China; the material studied is a selection of compositions produced by Chinese students and rewritten by Australian students. The final section contributes practical suggestions for EFL composition teaching in foreign language institutes in China.
    Date of Award1984
    Original languageEnglish

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