A Cross-cultural Study of Master Conclusions in English, Arabic and EFL Contexts: A Genre-based Approach
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The study of academic genres and part-genres across cultures and languages is gaining momentum among genre analysts and contrastive rhetoricians in many parts of the world. However, in the case of Algeria, this type of inquiry, despite having a vital pedagogical value for the EFL writing classroom, has been neglected. The present dissertation is an attempt to analyze cross-culturally the generic organization of the part-genre accompanying Master dissertations in literature, written by three distinct, yet overlapping, categories of students: native students of English, Algerian students of Arabic literature, and Algerian EFL students. For that end, I adopted Connor’s and Moreno’s (2005) model for cross-cultural studies of academic discourse and Bunton’s (2005) generic model for humanities and social sciences conclusions. The results of the analysis showed interesting insights regarding the rhetorical strategies that each group had employed in order to organize this partgenre of their dissertations. The English students’ organization was found largely congruent with Bunton’s model. This congruity includes both the status of the moves used and their rhetorical function in the text. Contrary to this, the Arabic conclusions were found practically inapplicable to the model, having demonstrated a striking divergence in terms of move status and move function to the extent that an alternative model was proposed to help explain and account for these differences. As regard the Algerian EFL conclusions, conforming to what the literature tells us on EFL writings, their schematic structure was found to follow what appears to be a ‘hybrid’ organization, borrowing rhetorical strategies from both native groups. Overall, it is believed that the factors influencing the organization of literature conclusions by English and Algerian students might be varied from the writing instructions and learning materials that each group receives and uses in the writing classroom to the different cultural attitudes towards what academic discourse implies in reality.