Dialogic and hortatory features in the writing of Chinese candidates for the IELTS Test

Mayor, Barbara M. (2006). Dialogic and hortatory features in the writing of Chinese candidates for the IELTS Test. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19(1) pp. 104–121.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/07908310608668757

URL: http://www.multilingual-matters.net/lcc/019/lcc019...


Research conducted in the context of the IELTS Research Program indicates that there are recurrent features in the writing under test conditions of candidates from Chinese language backgrounds, particularly in terms of interpersonal tenor. These include a high level of interpersonal reference, combined with a heavily dialogic and hortatory style. Chinese candidates in the study used significantly more interrogatives and imperatives than a similar sample of Greek candidates, along with a range of other grammatical devices which perform a hortatory function, calling for a mental or physical response on the part of the individual reader or collective. Together, these features lend a polemical tone to the English-medium writing of the Chinese candidates. It seems reasonable that Chinese students who wish to succeed in English-medium higher education should aim ultimately towards models of writing commonly expected of students in that context. However, in order to fairly assess the potential of Chinese candidates, it is important to recognise that some students who may have performed well in the Chinese educational system may import into their English writing a range of hitherto valued practices from their Chinese writing and/or their English language classes which may be affecting their test scores.

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