Using SFL in contrastive work across languages: an example from Spanish-English bilingual education Corinne Maxwell-Reid The Chinese University of Hong Kong 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 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 Context & reason for study • EMI/CLIL context: Spanish Ministry of Education (M.E.C.)/British Council Bilingual Project – Primary sector 1996 -> – Secondary sector 2004 -> – 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) Popular understandings of Spanish-English discourse differences Spanish • Complex • Indirect • Digressive • Values content >form • More/less personal? English • Simple • Direct • Linear • Values form • More/less personal? 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) CR methodology: 12 steps + explanation (Connor & Moreno 2005) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. • 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 pragmadiscursive units recognizable by language users in each culture either through literature review or further research (e.g. through interviews with L1 informants). 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. 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 CR investigations into intuitions of SpanishEnglish 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 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 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) 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? 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 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 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’ Spanish Theme structure: SFGS’s response to the issues • Experiential Theme • ‘She picked up the paper’ Experiential theme Pre-Head Rheme Head Recogió (pick up) el papel 3s past the paper Effect on thematic progression analysis • She picked up the paper and went to her room. Thematic field Textual Y Rhematic field Experiential Pre-Head Head Recogió 3s past el papel se fue 3s past a su cuarto. 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 Experiential Interpersonal Absolute y Furtivamente PreHead Head Recogió 3s past el papel se fue 3s past a su cuarto. lo guardó en un cajón 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 Experiential El resto del disco, Interpersonal la verdad, Pre-Head Head no sé 1s Pr cómo definirlo. 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 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. 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 1.4/0.4 1.0/0.4 Clauses EMI students No. % SMI students No. % Simplexes 22 32 8 10 Complexes 46 68 70 90 2-clause cl. complexes 14 21 22 28 3-clause cl. complexes 11 16 24 31 4-clause cl. complexes 14 21 13 17 >4-clause complexes 7 10 11 14 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. 5. - La economía también influye bastante. 6. - Algunas personas se sienten discriminadas por el hecho de llevarlo 7. - Con el uniforme no puedes mostrar tu personalidad. 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. 5. - Economics also have quite an influence. 6. - Some people feel discriminated against by (the act of) wearing it. 7. - With a uniform you can’t show your personality. 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 0 3 Opinion (for/against uniform) found at: beginning 4 3 end 2 1 both 2 5 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. 1a 1b 2a 2b 2c 2d 3 4a 4b 4c 4d 4e 5a 5b 5c Mi opinión es que llevar uniforme tiene sus ventajas y sus inconvenientes, sus ventajas son las siguientes: Todo el colegio vestirá igual por lo que no habría ningún tipo de discriminación en cuanto al tema de la vestimenta, ya que a muchas personas se les discrimina por culpa de la vestimenta; otra ventaja es que gracias al uniforme es más difícil que te clasifiquen socialmente, es decir, por el poder adquisitivo de tu familia. Los inconvenientes son los siguientes: Las personas no pueden mostrar su personalidad, ya que, tu vestimenta refleja bastante tu personalidad, y al llevar el uniforme todo el mundo va igual por lo que no la puedes mostrar. En defenitiva mi opinión es que los colegios, <<ya sean públicos o privados>>, deberían incorporar el uniforme <<ya sean públicos o privados>>, y así evitar muchos conflictos entre los estudiantes. 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 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. SMI text 1a 1b 1c 1d 2a 2b 2c 3a 3b 3c 3d 3e 3f 3g Yo creo que la mejor es no poner uniforme obligatorio en las escuelas públicas porque se supone que en una escuela publica se tiene más libertad que en una privada. En muchas ocasiones es bueno el uniforme porque así no tienes que elegir la ropa el día anterior y perder tiempo. Pero estaría bien que el uniforme fuera optativo porque muchas madres prefieren que sus hijos lleven ropa de calle porque les gusta más y otras madres prefieren que sí lo lleven porque así se ahorran tiempo y dinero. 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. Themes EMI texts Themes Total no. SMI texts % t-units Total no. % t-units Interpersonal 31 32 29 22 1st person projecting 18 18 12 9 Textual 32 33 84 64 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: EMI student texts SMI student texts Total % Total % CP 23 23 35 27 LP 20 20 29 22 • 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 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 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? 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