Stance and engagement in writing: Japanese and American editorials

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A SUGGESTION FROM RESEARCH ON
CONTRASTIVE RHETORIC
Nagiko Iwata Lee
Ritsumeikan University
[email protected]jp
English-Japanese contrastive rhetoric studies
Hinds (1983)
Japanese written texts are characterized by an
abrupt topic shift;
ki-sho-ten-ketsu
introduce-develop-turn to a subtheme-conclude
Hinds (1987)
Reader vs. Writer Responsibility
Inductiveness
Kobayashi (1984), Oi (1984), Kubota (1992)
Japanese student writers tend to organize essays
inductively (specific-to-general, placing main ideas at the
end)
Hinds (1990)
Japanese texts are characterized as quasi-inductive
(delayed introduction of purpose)
Maynard (1996)
Japanese newspaper opinion columns tend to place the
opinion toward the end of the text
Expressions of modality
Lee (2006)
‘Boosters’ are hardly used in Japanese academic
writing.
Lee (2009)
• ‘Boosters’ are hardly used in Japanese newspaper
editorials.
• American editorials use a wider variety of stance and
engagement expressions
Lee (2009) Data and Method
• Editorials from major Japanese and American
newspapers:
30 editorials from Asahi Newspaper
(Average length of one editorial: 31.1T-units)
30 editorials from New York Times
(Average length of one editorial: 30.9 T-units)
• Selected and coded expressions of stance and
engagement using Hyland’s model.
• Stance:
The ways writers present themselves and convey
their judgments, opinions, and commitments.
• Engagement:
The ways writers relate to their readers with
respect to the positions advanced in the text.
(Hyland, 2005)
Key resources of Stance (Hyland 2005)
Stance
Hedges
Boosters
Attitude
Markers
Selfmention
Examples of Stance expressions
• Hedges:
Such experiments may not represent ……
• Boosters:
…we obviously do not see a static image as…
• Attitude markers:
… are rather important and, for this reason …
• Self-mentions:
I argue that their treatment is superficial …
Key resources of Engagement (Hyland 2005)
Engagement
Reader
Shared
Personal
Directives Questions
pronouns
knowledge asides
Examples of Engagement expressions
• Reader pronouns:
Although we lack knowledge about …
• Directives:
Consider a sequence of batches in …
• Questions:
Is it , in fact, necessary to choose …?
• Appeals to Shared knowledge:
Chesterton was of course wrong to suppose …
• Personal asides:
And – as I believe many …. – critical thinking…
Frequency of Stance expressions
Hedges
Boosters
Attitude markers
Self-mention
Total
American
editorials
32
Japanese
editorials
43
31
2
207
158
0
0
270
203
Frequency of Engagement expressions
Reader pronouns
Directives
Questions
Shared knowledge
Personal asides
Total
American
editorials
30
7+1
Japanese
editorials
1
0+6
14
27
1
1
20
0
72
29
Reader pronouns
 A covert pronoun is a norm in Japanese.
(Lee, 1987, Kameyama 1988)

Some of the English reader pronouns
→Desiderative “V-tai” in Japanese
e.g.) We support the decision by …
→ ? Wareware wa sono ketsudan o shiji suru.
→ [
0
] sono ketsudan o shiji shi-tai.
* Desiderative form “V-tai” requires the 1st person subject.
Prominence of the desiderative form
in Japanese editorials
 36 occurrences of the desiderative were found in 20 out of
30 Asahi Shimbun editorials used as data in Lee (2009),
whilst only 4 occurrences were identified in New York times
editorials.
 The desiderative can be a stance marker, expressing the
wish of the writer, and can be an engagement marker
at the same time, implying the wish is to be shared with
the readers.
Discourse modality indicators
(Maynard 1993, 2002 )
 Cleft sentence (the word-order which reflects different
information structure)
[ A ] no wa [ B ] da. ‘What A is B’, ‘It is B that A’
ooku no hito o sukuidashita no mo karera datta.
‘It was they who also saved many people.’
 Sentential nominal
Shinsai kara 10 ka.
‘10 days since the day of earthquake.’
Frequency of Desiderative, Cleft sentence,
and Sentential nominal in the data of Lee
(2009)
New York Times
(30 editorials)
Asahi Shimbun
(30 editorials)
Desiderative
4
36
Cleft sentence
3
6
Sentential nominal
3
5
Examples from editorials on the recent
earthquake disaster in Japan
Desiderative
Ochitsuite koodoo shi-tai.
‘We want to act calmly.’
Cleft sentence
ooku no hito o sukuidashita no mo karera datta.
‘It was they who also saved many people.’
Sentential nominal
Shinsai kara 10 ka.
‘10 days since the day of earthquake.’
Frequency of Desiderative, Cleft sentence, &
Sentential nominal in editorials on the recent
earthquake disaster in Japan
Asahi
Shimbun
(10 editorials)
New York
Times
(2 editorials)
0
Desiderative
20
(Aver. 2.0)
Cleft
sentence
12
(Aver. 1.2)
0
Sentential
nominal
8
(From 2
editorials)
3
(From 1
editorial)
The
The Age
Guardian
(4 editorials) (3 editorials)
0
0
2
(Aver. 0.5)
0
4
(From 1
editorial)
0
• While obviously expressing modality is
universal among languages, the ready
availability>available forms of and
acceptance (or even encouragement)
toward high degree of personalization differ
from one genre to another and from one
language to another.
(Maynard 1993:266, edited in red by Lee 2011)
A suggestion from contrastive rhetoric
• We need to look at data from the perspective of
languages other than English as well.
By looking at Japanese, typologically different from
English, we have found the following:
1) There is an indicator which can be considered
both as a stance marker and an engagement marker.
<Japanese desiderative>
2) There are other markers which need to be examined
for expressions of stance and engagement.
<Cleft sentence, Sentential nominal>
References
• Hinds, J. (1983) Contrastive rhetoric: Japanese and English. Text, 3(2),
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pp. 183-195.
(1987) Reader versus writer responsibility: A new typology. In U.
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Coherence in Writing: Research and pedagogical perspectives, pp. 87109. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
Hyland, K. (2005) “Stance and engagement: a model of interaction in
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Kobayashi (1984). Rhetorical patterns in English and Japanese.
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Kubota (1992). Contrastive rhetoric of Japanese and English: A
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Linguistics, 18 (2) pp. 1-30. Department of Linguistics, University of
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(2006) “Contrastive academic writing in Japanese and
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(2009) “Stance and Engagement in writing: Japanese and
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Maynard, S.K. (1993) Discourse Modality: Subjectivity, emotion and
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(1996). Presentation of one’s view in Japanese newspaper
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(2002) Linguistic Emotivity: Centrality of place, the topiccomment dynamic, and an ideology of pathos in Japanese discourse,
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Oi (1984). M.K. (1984). Cross-cultural differences in rhetorical patterning:
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State University of New York at Stony Brook.
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