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LINGUIST List 16.2172

Fri Jul 15 2005

Diss: Text/Corpus Ling: Ansary: 'A Cross-cultural ...'

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        1.    Hasan ansary, A Cross-cultural Analysis of English Newspaper Editorials

Message 1: A Cross-cultural Analysis of English Newspaper Editorials
Date: 15-Jul-2005
From: Hasan ansary <ansary2877yahoo.com>
Subject: A Cross-cultural Analysis of English Newspaper Editorials

Institution: Shiraz University
Program: Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Hasan Ansary

Dissertation Title: A Cross-cultural Analysis of English Newspaper Editorials

Linguistic Field(s): Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)

Dissertation Director:
Lotfollah Yarmohammadi

Dissertation Abstract:

The express purpose of this study was three-fold. First, an attempt was
made to characterize the global and/or macro-rhetorical structure of
English newspaper editorials and formulate what Halliday and Hasan (1989,
p. 64) call the 'Generic Structure Potential' (GSP) of a genre in order to
(dis)establish English newspaper editorials as a distinct genre. Secondly,
this study explored the local and/or micro-linguistic texture of English
newspaper editorials and cataloged what Halliday and Hasan (1989, p. 94)
refer to as the 'Cohesive Harmony Index' (CHI) of texts. Finally, a
qualitative and quantitative cross-comparison was made in order to examine
whether there was statistically any significant micro-textual and
macro-structural variation from one culture to another within the same genre.

To this end, a total of 90 editorials electronically culled from three
English newspapers (30 editorials each) published in three different
socio-cultural environments by native speakers of English (The Washington
Times), and non-native speakers (The Iran News, and The Pakistan Today)
were text-analyzed. Specifically, two types of analysis were performed.
First, a qualitative GSP analysis of texts was carried out with reference
to the rhetorical elements of texts. Secondly, a quantitative inquiry was
made into the kind of Chain Interactions (CI) that existed in texts— CI
Analysis of texts produces a CHI which is a formal (in contrast to
functional) measure of cohesion as well as coherence of texts (cf. Halliday
& Hasan, 1989, p. 91).

Results of the GSP analysis of texts indicated that, in terms of the
rhetorical elements of structure, there is 'statistically' no significant
difference (a = .05) between English newspaper editorials written by
(non)native editorial writers, in whatever socio-cultural and
socio-political context they are produced and disseminated. In other words,
results revealed that an 'unmarked' English newspaper editorial, published
either in Iran or Pakistan or the USA, typically consists of four
obligatory structural elements (Headline, Addressing an Issue,
Argumentation, and Articulating a Position) and two optional elements
(providing Background Information and Closing Remarks). In 82.2% of the
cases studied, 'the obligatory elements' that, in fact, 'define the genre
to which a text belongs' (Halliday & Hasan, 1989, p. 62) in this research
appeared in this canonical order: H^AI^A^AP (the caret sign indicates
sequence). However, in some variants of editorials certain processes
appeared to recur and some elements seemed not to occur at all.

Besides, results of the CI analysis of texts demonstrated that, in terms of
the cohesive harmony in texts, there is no significant difference (a = .05)
between native and non-native editorial texts. In other words, results
revealed that the CH indices of editorial texts- as a formal quantitative
measure of cohesion as well as coherence of texts- turned out to be
analogous across various texts suggesting that the editorial texts produced
by non-native speakers of English enjoy almost the same degree of
linguistic cohesiveness as native texts.

The results, likely to be of interest to those involved in education,
applied linguistics, and the media, are discussed in relation to the
validity of the GSP analysis in the context of Contrastive Rhetoric (CR)
research, the significance of CI analysis to genre theory, and their
implications for both genre pedagogy, in general, and the theory and
practice of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), in particular. There is
surely no implication here that the details of description provided above
is beyond reproach.

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