Hybrid Rhetoric in Professional Writing: The Case of American and Filipino Parents’ Letters of Excuse from School

| January 21, 2014

| Volume 5 Index July 2010 |

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Title

Hybrid Rhetoric in Professional Writing: The Case of American and Filipino Parents’ Letters of Excuse from School

Author

Alejandro S. Bernardo 

University of Santo Tomas, Manila, 

Philippines

 

Abstract 

In much of second language writing, ‘non-native’ speakers of English are assumed to ‘digress’ from traditionally promulgated writing norms. This can be seen as negative, because they allegedly do not conform to the standard of writing; or positive, because their digressions are culturally relevant or appropriate. On that note, this study compares and contrasts letters of excuse from school written by 30 American and 30 Filipino parents. It contransively examines the linguistic characteristics, moves, and rhetoric of Filipino and American excuse letters, with the goal of specifying the rhetorical preferences that are defining features of each corpus. More specifically, this paper examines the text layout, organizational patterns and special features of content like goodwill close and commonly recurring expressions used in stating requests in the two corpora. This paper argues that nonnative speakers of English are not the only ones that employ distinctive writing patterns which ‘digress’ from traditional writing models, but also the native speakers as well. The two discourses investigated demonstrate ‘hybrid’ rhetoric which cannot simply be described as ‘native’ or ‘non-native’. This study also proposes that a ‘discourse space’ be given to any writing community which allows its members to employ rhetorical strategies they prefer. 

Key words: Contrastive Rhetoric, discourse space, hybrid rhetoric, rhetorical strategies, rhetorical rights

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Category: 2010