Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 11, No 2 (2014)

Narrative in support of an end-state statement: Evidencing cross-linguistic influence in learning paths and discoursal outcomes

Asha Tickoo
Issued Date: 11 Jun 2018


This study examines Chinese learners' use, and acquisition, of a specialized genre of English narrative: narrative in support of an end-state statement (NIE). It uses a comparative assessment of English and Chinese NIE to understand learner text at three levels of proficiency. The study identifies differences between English and Chinese NIE in the backdrop of broad configurational commonality: unlike English, Chinese allows for less definition in thematic delimitation, formal marking of developmental design, and narrative texture, as well as the distinctive feature of a linguistic separation of crucial from subsidiary elements of the narrative development. These differences, together, suggest the accommodation of a less explicit, more implicational style of narration. The influence of this difference is apparent in the acquisition of both NIE-specific and more general lexico-syntactic features. But learning follows a linear progression across the two lower levels of proficiency, in the direction of the target configuration. At the highest level of proficiency, when students are both most fluent and most confident, however, this very advantage makes them 'break free', and, so, they deviate from expected practice, in a reversion to internalized first-language (L1) discoursal practice. Pedagogical implications arising from the study findings are considered.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/japl.28908


Atkinson, D. and Matsuda, P. K. (2013) Intercultural rhetoric: A conversation – The sequel. In D. Belcher and G. Nelson (eds) Critical and Corpus-Based Approaches to Intercultural Rhetoric, 227–242. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Baker, W. (2013) Interpreting the culture in intercultural rhetoric: A critical perspective from English as a lingua franca studies. In D. Belcher and G. Nelson (eds) Critical and Corpus-Based Approaches to Intercultural Rhetoric, 22–45. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Bardovi-Harlig, K. and Bergstrom, A. (1996) The acquisition of tense and aspect in SLA and FLL: A study of learner narratives in English (SL) and French (FL). Canadian Modern Language Review 52 (2): 308–330.

Cai, G. (1993) Beyond ‘bad writing’: Teaching English composition to Chinese ESL students. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, San Diego, 31 March – 3 April.

Cai, J. (2007) Differences in location of thesis statement in Chinese and English texts and their influence upon Chinese EFL learners’ English writing. Foreign Language Teaching Abroad 1 (1): 1–12.

Canagarajah, A. S. (2013) From intercultural rhetoric to cosmopolitan practice: Addressing new challenges in lingua franca English. In D. Belcher and G. Nelson (eds) Critical and Corpus-Based Approaches to Intercultural Rhetoric, 203–226. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Casanave, C. P. (2004) Controversies in Second Language Writing: Dilemmas and Decisions in Research and Instruction. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Chen, J. (2008) An investigation into the preference for discourse patterns in Chinese EFL learning context. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 18 (2): 188–211.

Chien, S. C. (2011) Discourse organization in high school students’ writing and their teachers’ writing instruction: The case of Taiwan. Foreign Language Annals 44 (2): 417–35.

Connor, U. (1996) Contrastive Rhetoric: Cross-Cultural Aspects of Second-Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Connor, U. (2004) Intercultural rhetoric research: Beyond texts. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 3: 291–304.

Connor, U. (2008) Mapping multidimensional aspects of research: Reaching to intercul­tural rhetoric. In U. Connor, E. Nagelhout and W. Rozycki (eds) Contrastive Rhetoric: Reaching to Intercultural Rhetoric, 299–315. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Connor, U. (2011) Intercultural Rhetoric in the Writing Classroom. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Cortazzi, M. and Jin, L. (1997) Communication for learning across cultures. In D. McNamara and R. Harris (eds) Overseas Students in Higher Education, 76–90. London and New York: Routledge.

Finegan, E. (2008) Language: Its Structure and Use. Fifth Edition. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.

Grabe, W. and Kaplan, R. B. (1996) Theory and Practice of Writing: An Applied Linguistic Perspective. London: Longman.

Hinds, J. (1987) Reader versus writer responsibility: A new typology. In U. Connor and R. B. Kaplan (eds) Writing Across Languages: Analysis of L2 Text, 141–152. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Hinds, J. (1990) Inductive, deductive, quasi-inductive: Expository writing in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Thai. In U. Connor and A. M. Johns (eds) Coherence in Writing: Research and Pedagogical Perspectives, 87–110. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Kaplan, M. A. (1987) Developmental patterns of past tense acquisition among foreign language learners of French. In B. VanPatten, T. R. Dvorak and J. F. Lee (eds) Foreign Language Learning: A Research Perspective, 52–60. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House.

Kaplan, R. B. (1966) Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education. Language Learning 16 (1–2): 1–20.

Kaplan, R. B. (1987) Cultural thought patterns revisited. In U. Connor and R. B. Kaplan (eds) Writing Across Languages: Analysis of L2 Text, 9–212. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Kirkpatrick, A. (1997) Traditional Chinese text structures and their influence on the writing in Chinese and English of contemporary mainland Chinese students. Journal of Second Language Writing 6 (3): 223–244.

Labov, W. (2001) Uncovering the event structure of narrative. In D. Tannen and J. Alatis (eds) Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics: Linguistics, Language and the Real World: Discourse and Beyond, 63–83. Washington, DC: George­town University Press.

Labov, W. (2004) Ordinary events. In C. Fought (ed.) Sociolinguistic Variation: Critical Reflections, 31–43. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Labov, W. (2006) Narrative pre-construction. Narrative Inquiry 16 (1): 37–45.

Labov, W. and Waletzky, J. (1967) Narrative analysis. In J. Helm (ed.) Essays on the Verbal and Visual Arts, 12–44. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Lee, M. Y.-P. (2003) Discourse structure and rhetoric of English narratives: Differences between native English and Chinese non-native English writers. Text 23 (3): 347–368.

Leki, L. (1991) Twenty-five years of contrastive rhetoric: Text analysis and writing pedagogies. TESOL Quarterly 25 (1): 123–143.

Li, C. N. and Thompson, S. A. (1981) Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Li, C. N., Thompson, S. A. and Thompson, R. M. (1982) The discourse motivation for the perfect aspect: The Mandarin particle le. In P. J. Hopper (ed.) Tense-Aspect: Between Semantics and Pragmatics, 19–44. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Liu, X. and Furneaux, C. (2014) A multidimensional comparison of discourse organization in English and Chinese university students’ argumentative writing. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 24 (1): 74–96.

Liu, Y. (2005) Rhetorical education through writing instruction across cultures: A comparative analysis of selective online instructional materials on argumentative writing. Journal of Second Language Writing 14 (1): 1–18.

Loi, C. K. and Evans, M. S. (2010) Cultural differences in the organization of research article introductions from the field of educational psychology: English and Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics 42: 2814–2825.

Martin, J. R. and Rothery, J. (1984) Choice of genre in a suburban primary school. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, Alice Springs.

Matalene, C. (1985) Contrastive rhetoric in context: A dynamic model of L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing 6 (1): 45–60.

Mohon, B. A. and Lo, W. A.-Y. (1985) Academic writing and Chinese students: Transfer and developmental factors. TESOL Quarterly 19 (3): 515–534.

Robinson, R. (1990) The primacy of aspect: Aspectual marking in English interlan­guage. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12: 315–330.

Shen, F. (1989) The classroom and the wider culture: Identity as a key to learning English composition. College Composition and Communication 40 (4): 459–466.

Taft, M., Kacanas, D., Huen, W. and Chan, R. (2011) An empirical demonstration of contrastive rhetoric: Preference for rhetorical structure depends on one’s first language. Intercultural Pragmatics 8 (4): 503–516.

Taylor, G. and Chen, T. (1991) Linguistic, cultural, and subcultural issues in contrastive discourse analysis: Anglo-American and Chinese scientific texts. Applied Linguistics 12 (3): 319–336.

Tickoo, A. (2001) Re-examining the developmental sequence hypothesis for past-tense marking in ESL: Transfer effects and implications. Prospect: A Journal of Australian TESOL 16 (1): 16–34.

Tickoo, A. (2002) On the use of ‘then’ / ‘after that’ in the marking of chronological order: Insights from Vietnamese and Chinese learners of ESL. System 30 (1): 107–124.

Tickoo, A. (2005) The selective marking of past tense: Insights from Indian learners of ESL. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 15 (3): 364–378.

Tickoo, A. (2014) On narrative in support of an opening end-state statement: A case study. EFL Journal 5 (1): 65–84.

Vendler, Z. (1967) Linguistics in Philosophy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Wang, Y. (2003) Argumentative writings by English and Chinese natives: A study in contrastive rhetoric. Teaching English in China 26 (1): 31–35.

Xing, M., Wang, J. and Spencer, K. (2008) Raising students’ awareness of cross-cultural contrastive rhetoric in English writing via an e-learning course. Language Learning and Technology 12 (2): 71–93.

Yang, L. and Cahill, D. (2008) The rhetorical organization of Chinese and American students’ expository essays: A contrastive rhetoric study. International Journal of English Studies 8 (2): 113–132.

Yusu, X. (2014) A contrastive perspective on appraisal strategies of English writing of Chinese and western reviewers. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics 37 (4): 498–512.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: [email protected]

Privacy Policy