- 秋田県立大学総合科学研究彙報 (ISSN:1345434X)
- no.2, pp.1-16, 2001
This paper attempts to compare the organizational differences of paragraphs in expository essays written in Japanese by Japanese university students and those written in English by American university students. This analysis concludes 1. that there is not much difference in the number of sentences per paragraph, but that Japanese students incorporate more AND-equivalent connectives into sentences, a factor which tends to blur the focus of the sentences. 2. that 32% of Japanese paragraphs did not have topic sentences and that those that had topic sentences took the initial position, not the final position, contrary to my expectation. American students write simple topic sentences, and Japanese students tend to write compound topic sentences. 3. that 23% of the sentences in the paragraph in the Japanese essays did not support the topic sentence directly. 4. that American students use examples, assert their opinions directly, and include more contrastive evidence than the Japanese students. However, Japanese students tend to cite authorities and use more quotations, definitions, and interrogative sentences than the American students. 5. that Japanese students tend to overuse coordinating conjunctions like AND and its equivalents, following the expected pattern of Japanese sentence structure. They also use the disjunctive BUT to a lesser degree. However, the multiple repetition of BUT tended to hinder the smooth flow of thought that they were striving to achieve in the paragraph. 6. that the sentences and paragraphs of both languages use a base and then develop it. However, the development of details are exactly opposite in that English typically uses right-branching development while Japanese uses left-branching development. 7. that culture-specific differences account for the wide range of disparity present in the essays by American students and Japanese students. Finally, we must utilize a contrastive educational method in order for Japanese university students to attain rhetorical maturity in sentence development and paragraph form.