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Corinne Maxwell-Reid The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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1 Corinne Maxwell-Reid The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Using SFL in contrastive work across languages: an example from Spanish-English bilingual education Corinne Maxwell-Reid The Chinese University of Hong Kong

2 Using SFL in contrastive work across languages: an example from Spanish-English bilingual education
The study: the effect of studying through English on students’ L1 (Spanish) written discourse Issues with contrastive work across languages: without & within SFL

3 Overview Context of study Contrastive work outside SFL (CR)
Historical stages of CR & current position Assumptions as to Spanish-English discourse differences & how they are investigated Contrastive work within SFL Advantages & difficulties Differences Spanish-English: Theme The study: Analysis & Findings Possible explanations & avenues for future research

4 Context & reason for study
EMI/CLIL context: Spanish Ministry of Education (M.E.C.)/British Council Bilingual Project Primary sector > Secondary sector > Partial EMI: English, Social Sciences & Science/IT through English Increase in CLIL previous research in CLIL English and other languages in Europe This study: compares argumentative texts written in Spanish by 24 EMI students and 24 SMI students (3rd year secondary) in terms of assumptions as to Spanish-English differences; today looking at half the texts (12 EMI & 12 SMI)

5 Popular understandings of Spanish-English discourse differences
Complex Indirect Digressive Values content >form More/less personal? Simple Direct Linear Values form More/less personal?

6 The three ages of Contrastive rhetoric (CR): beginnings & early years
Kaplan (1988) on roots of CR: Firthian linguistics, Prague School, text linguistics The birth of CR: Kaplan ‘doodle’ paper, ‘Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education’(1966) Criticisms of early CR Unclear methodology Anglocentric Positives Using ‘data’; Beyond the sentence Students from other cultures not just bad writers Developing CR Text linguistics Advances in comparability, replicable; valuing of non-English traditions Continued criticism: deterministic; producing static binaries; seeing concrete, unchanging entities; with a deficit approach (Zamel 1997) Nevertheless, the early achievements of Kaplan and CR were to take the study of language beyond word and sentence level to the paragraph, and show teachers in the Anglo-Saxon world that their students from other cultures were not bad writers, but writing from another tradition with different understandings of good writing (Canagarajah 2002; Connor 2002).

7 CR methodology: 12 steps + explanation (Connor & Moreno 2005)
Formulating clear hypotheses about the relationship between writing cultures and how textual meanings are expressed. Defining the population of expert L1 texts that can be considered comparable and specifiying the basis for the similarity constraints. Selecting a representative sample of the population in each writing culture being compared. Identifying comparable textual units, e.g. (a) moves such as establishing the territory or creating a niche; (b) discourse functions such as defining or evaluating; (c) pragmatic functions such as requesting or apologizing; and (d) relational functions (i.e. coherence relations such as cause-effect or claim-support). Validating those units of analysis as functional or pragma-discursive units recognizable by language users in each culture either through literature review or further research (e.g. through interviews with L1 informants).

8 5. (Cont.) This verification would allow the researcher to propose these units as language/textual universals, which can be taken as qualitative constants for the two languages compared and allow juxtaposition of comparable rhetorical phenomena. 6. Quantifying the occurrence of these textual universals in each corpus. […] 7. Devising objective criteria to describe the textual realizations of the universals proposed in the two languages. … designing specific criteria that do not privilege one language over the other. [..] 8. Applying the devised analytical criteria to the description of the two corpora independently. 9. Juxtaposing the taxonomies. 10. Contrasting the quantitative results for each comparable qualitative category. 11. Interpreting the significance of quantitative similarities and differences through statistical analysis. 12. Drawing conclusions about the relationship between writing cultures and how textual meanings are expressed on the basis of the comparative results.

9 The present: CR to IR - Intercultural Rhetoric & underlying problems
CR -> IR (Connor et al 2008): definition of rhetoric as ‘communication, shaped by situation’, ‘impact on consumer’; using overlapping theories/methods; writing as social construction; ‘everything exists between cultures’ (Connor 2008) text analysis in CR x-> ‘reliable understanding of the context’ (culture), text-context link often ‘no better than guesswork’, need ‘methodological link between text & context’ in IR (Li 2008) Methodology stage 13: explanation; provide richer description & focus on correspondingly smaller culture Explanations without underlying theory

10 CR investigations into intuitions of Spanish-English differences
Complexity: words/sentence, t-unit, clause (S>E) Complexity: ‘subordination’ (S>E, sometimes E>S) In/direct; digression; valuing form v content: text structure/metatext (E>S); thematic progression Im/personal: unclear; overgeneralising

11 Thematic progression in CR
Previous studies use Prague School work in a range of ways with ‘theme’ variously interpreted, often conflated with topic and with no structural characteristic. They use variations on two main patterns: ‘repeated theme’ pattern (Constant Theme) The cat sat on the mat. The cat was black. rheme -> theme pattern (Linear Theme) The cat sat on the mat. The mat was hairy. English text is found to use both more than Spanish does; LT in particular

12 SFL tools Complexity: within & between clauses; ranking clauses & embedded clauses Genre analysis: staging Thematic progression Theme analysis (Textual & Interpersonal, inc 1st person projection) Theme is the “point of departure of the message … which locates and orients the clause within its context” (IFG3p64); Theme is located at the beginning of the clause and extends up to the first experiential element: “This means that the Theme of a clause ends with the first constituent that is either participant, circumstance or process.” (IFG3p79) Theme, much disputed, most common interpretation… (if not before when CR -> SFL)

13 Key differences in Spanish-English language resources & issues for analysis: Subject & clitics
Explicit subject less often needed in Spanish Tengo hambre. [I] have (1s) hunger – I’m hungry Recogió el papel ‘She picked up the paper.’ (SFGS) Process is thus the first experiential element in many Spanish clauses. Clitics (weak pronouns)are bound to the verb; orthographically separate when before the verb, but cannot act independently of the verb – can they be thematic independent of the verb?

14 Theme as 1st experiential element for Spanish: effect on thematic progression analysis
Taboada (2004): Finite as experiential Theme – verb stem, not participant suffixes. Text with constant participant (suffix) but changing process (vb stem) analysed as having a high number of new Themes (Themes not mentioned before) Equivalent English text with repetition of Subject pronoun analysed as constant Theme Using English-based thematic analysis leads to the conclusion that Spanish text is more digressive

15 Arguments for extending Theme beyond 1st experiential element
Theme as wave/ continuum of diminishing prominence; not discrete but discrete units needed for analysis; boundary depends on purpose (Berry 1996; Thompson 2007) Participant identities have special importance – often the most consistent thematic elements; needed to track method of development (Downing 1991; Lavid et al 2010; Rose 2001) Language-specific strategies other than sequencing to resolve the “competition for thematic status” (Rose 2001: 112): conflation & use of clitics Add eg of word order possibilities – Pedro buying a house etc. Clitics not used to get thematic status in Spanish though, as theme without following part??

16 Conflation Conflation: two functions within one element, here process and participant identity in the Finite, as stem verb and suffix Tengo hambre. ‘I’m hungry.’ Recogió el papel ‘She picked up the paper’

17 Spanish Theme structure: SFGS’s response to the issues
Experiential Theme ‘She picked up the paper’ Experiential theme Rheme Pre-Head Head Recogió el papel (pick up) s past the paper Using interpretation of Theme as extending up to “the first element with a function in the experiential configuration of the clause which is more central to the unfolding of the text by allowing the tracking of the discourse participants” p299

18 Effect on thematic progression analysis
She picked up the paper and went to her room. Thematic field Rhematic field Textual Experiential Pre-Head Head Recogió 3s past el papel Y se fue a su cuarto.

19 SFGS Theme analysis She picked up the paper and went to her room. Furtively, she hid it in a drawer, … Thematic field Rhematic field Outer Thematic field Inner Thematic field Textual Interpersonal Absolute Experiential Pre-Head Head Recogió 3s past el papel y se fue a su cuarto. Furtivamente lo guardó en un cajón

20 SFGS: Absolute Theme The rest of the disk, honestly, I don’t know how to define it. The rest of the disk, the truth, no know-1s how to define it Thematic field Rhematic field Outer Thematic field Inner Thematic field Absolute Interpersonal Experiential Pre-Head Head El resto del disco, la verdad, no sé 1s Pr cómo definirlo.

21 Summary of analysis for school uniform texts
Clause complexing & units Text structure framework & signalling (two-sided discussion; not explicitly taught) Theme: Interpersonal Theme (1st person projecting) Textual Thematic progression main strategy per text total no. CP & LP patterns

22 Student text prompt At the moment, only students at private schools wear a uniform. However, some politicians also want public schools to have a uniform for their students. Do you think it is a good idea for public schools to have school uniform? Write a page for your school magazine on this question, explaining your opinion on the topic. Include examples to help make your explanations clear.

23 The student texts (Spanish)
EMI students SMI students Total words 1548 2201 Total sentences/t-units 68/98 78/132 Words per text 129 183 Words per sentence/t-unit 23/16 28/17 Total ranking clauses 187 241 Total embedded clauses 70 106 Ranking clauses per sentence 2.75 3 Embedded clauses per sentence/clause 1.0/0.4 1.4/0.4

24 Clauses EMI students SMI students No. % Simplexes 22 32 8 10 Complexes
46 68 70 90 2-clause cl. complexes 14 21 28 3-clause cl. complexes 11 16 24 31 4-clause cl. complexes 13 17 >4-clause complexes 7

25 EMI student text: clause simplexes
3. Sin embargo también tiene sus contras. 4.a. - El uniforme debe llevarse con zapatos, 4.b. por lo que en los recreos resulte incomodo para practicar algún deporte La economía también influye bastante Algunas personas se sienten discriminadas por el hecho de llevarlo 7. - Con el uniforme no puedes mostrar tu personalidad.

26 EMI student text clause simplexes: translation
3. Nevertheless, [it] also has its disadvantages. 4. a. - The uniform should be worn with shoes, 4.b. so in breaktimes it is awkward for doing sport Economics also have quite an influence Some people feel discriminated against by (the act of) wearing it With a uniform you can’t show your personality.

27 Text structure EMI texts SMI texts
Considers both sides of issue (for/against uniforms) 12 11 Uses 2-sided discussion as organisation 7 1 Signals 2-sided organisation 6 3 Organised partially by issue Opinion (for/against uniform) found at: beginning 4 end 2 both 5

28 Translation of EMI student text showing two-sided organisation, opinion, and signalling of framework
My opinion is that wearing a uniform has advantages and inconveniences, its advantages are the following: All the school will dress the same so there won’t be any type of discrimination as regards the subject of clothing, since many people are discriminated against by fault of [because of] the clothing; another advantage is that thanks to the uniform it is more difficult that they classify you socially that is to say, by the buying power of your family. The inconveniences are the following: People can’t show their personality, since, your clothing reflects quite a lot your personality, and wearing the uniform everyone goes [looks] the same so you can’t show it. All in all my opinion is that schools, be they public or private, should use a uniform, and in this way avoid a lot of conflicts among the students.

29 1a Mi opinión es que llevar uniforme tiene sus ventajas y sus inconvenientes,
1b sus ventajas son las siguientes: 2a Todo el colegio vestirá igual 2b por lo que no habría ningún tipo de discriminación en cuanto al tema de la vestimenta, 2c ya que a muchas personas se les discrimina por culpa de la vestimenta; 2d otra ventaja es que gracias al uniforme es más difícil que te clasifiquen socialmente, es decir, por el poder adquisitivo de tu familia. 3 Los inconvenientes son los siguientes: 4a Las personas no pueden mostrar su personalidad, 4b ya que, tu vestimenta refleja bastante tu personalidad, 4c y al llevar el uniforme 4d todo el mundo va igual 4e por lo que no la puedes mostrar. 5a En defenitiva mi opinión es que los colegios, <<ya sean públicos o privados>>, deberían incorporar el uniforme 5b <<ya sean públicos o privados>>, 5c y así evitar muchos conflictos entre los estudiantes.

30 Translation: SMI text I believe that the best thing is not to make uniform obligatory in the public schools because it is supposed that in a public school one has more freedom than in a private. In many occasions is good the uniform because in this way you don’t have to choose the clothes the day before and waste time. But it would be good that the uniform was optional because a lot of mothers prefer that their children wear street clothes because it pleases them more [they like them more] and other mothers prefer that yes they wear it because that way they save time and money

31 But for children under 12 years old it’s good,
for those over 12 no because at 12 years old is when you start to change and to see the world in another way and it pleases you [you like] to wear clothes that please you [that you like] and not always with the uniform. But on the other hand it is good that people wear uniform because, supposing that each uniform of each school is different, in this way is everything more ordered. But for me, sincerely, doesn’t please me the uniform [I don’t like uniforms] and prefer to wear my clothes the clothes that please me [I like]. If you wear uniform you feel forced and less free than if you don’t wear it and I think that since it is obligatory to go to school, that they let us choose and a bit of freedom would be good.

32 SMI text 1a Yo creo 1b que la mejor es no poner uniforme obligatorio en las escuelas públicas 1c porque se supone 1d que en una escuela publica se tiene más libertad que en una privada. 2a En muchas ocasiones es bueno el uniforme 2b porque así no tienes que elegir la ropa el día anterior 2c y perder tiempo. 3a Pero estaría bien que el uniforme fuera optativo 3b porque muchas madres prefieren 3c que sus hijos lleven ropa de calle 3d porque les gusta más 3e y otras madres prefieren 3f que sí lo lleven 3g porque así se ahorran tiempo y dinero.

33 4a Pero para los niños menos de 12 años está bien,
4b para los que superan los 12 años no 4c porque a los 12 años es cuando empiezas a cambiar y a ver el mundo de otra forma 4d y le gusta vestirte con ropa que te guste. y no siempre con el uniforme. 5a Pero por otra parte está bien que la gente lleve uniforme 5b porque, suponiendo que cada uniforme de cada colegio sea distinto, así seria todo mas ordenado. 5c <<suponiendo que cada uniforme de cada colegio sea distinto>> 6a Pero a mi, sinceramente, no me gusta el uniforme 6b y prefiero llevar mi ropa; la ropa que me gusta. 7a Si llevas uniforme 7b te sientes obligado y menos libre que si no lo llevases 7c y yo pienso, 7d que ya que es obligatorio ir a la escuela, 7e que nos dejen elegir 7f y un poco de libertad estaría bien.

34 Themes EMI texts SMI texts Themes Total no. % t-units Interpersonal 31
32 29 22 1st person projecting 18 12 9 Textual 33 84 64

35 Thematic progression Main strategy per text: similar for EMI/SMI
Half texts use CP, LP or, more commonly, a combination of CP & LP Half don’t Total no. of each pattern: Analysis prior to SFGS: main strategy: EMI using CP, LP or CP/LP more than SMI Totals: EMI using LP more than SMI; totals similar EMI student texts SMI student texts Total % CP 23 35 27 LP 20 29 22

36 Summary of differences
As with previous studies of Spanish-English text: EMI students more likely to choose Dis/advantages text framework, & to signal that framework More simplexes, in a shorter text More 1st person projecting clauses In contrast with previous studies EMI students’ texts show fewer textual Themes, thematic progression strategies are similar for each group

37 Possible influences on the EMI students’ written Spanish
English classes: indirect effect of writing task Social Science classes: text types, expository and explanatory texts; bullet points Reading habits: time spent reading English; preferences Project effect? (group identity, status & conformity)

38 Conclusions (not) to be drawn
Limitations of study Exposure to English English classes Social science texts Reading habits & attitudes Project effect Globalisation & homogenisation Methodology & language-specific analysis

39 References Arús Hita, J English and Spanish structures: the textual metafunction as a contrastive tool for the analysis of languages. In D. Banks (ed.). Text and Texture: Systemic Functional viewpoints on the nature and structure of text, pp Paris: L’Harmattan Berry, M What is Theme? – A(nother) personal view. In M. Berry, C. Butler, R. Fawcett and G. Huang. Meaning and choice in language: Studies for Michael Halliday, pp Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Caffarel, A., J.R.Martin and C.M.I.M. Matthiessen (eds.). Language typology: A functional perspective. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Canagarajah, S Multilingual writers and the academic community: towards a critical relationship. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1: Connor, U. and A. Moreno Tertium comparationis: a vital component in contrastive rhetoric research. In Bruthiaux, P., D. Atkinson, W. Eggington, W. Grabe & V. Ramanathan. Directions in Applied Linguistics: Essays in honor of Robert B. Kaplan, pp Cleveland: Multilingual Matters. Connor, U., E. Nagelhout & W. Rozycki (eds.) Contrastive Rhetoric: Reaching to intercultural rhetoric. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

40 Downing, A An alternative approach to theme: a sytemic-functional perspective. Word 42/2: Kaplan, R ‘Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education’. Language Learning 16, nos. 1 and 2, pp.1-20. Kaplan, R Contrastive rhetoric and second language learning: notes toward a theory of contrastive rhetoric. In A. Purves (ed.). Writing across languages and cultures: Issues in contrastive rhetoric, pp Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Lavid, J., J. Arús and J.R. Zamorano-Mansilla Systemic Functional Grammar of Spanish: A contrastive study with English. London: Continuum. Li, X From contrastive rhetoric to intercultural rhetoric: A search for collective identity. In U. Connor, E. Nagelhout & W. Rozycki (eds.). Rose, D Some variations in Theme across languages. Functions of Language 8/1: Thompson, G Unfolding Theme: the development of clausal and textual perspectives on Theme. In R. Hasan, C. Matthiessen & J. Webster (eds.). Continuing Discourse on Language: A Functional Perspective, vol 2, pp London: Equinox. Zamel, V Toward a model of transculturation. TESOL Quarterly, 31:


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