Discourse Organization of Asian Fashion Blogs
Background of the study
Blogging has emerged as one of the most popular forms of online discourse. The ease and lack of expense in setting blogs has raised intriguing possibilities for language learning in social media. The unique nature of its architecture and its low cost have not only affected how different bloggers can publish and distribute their work to a wider audience but also how they see themselves as writers. According to Blood (2002), blogs have been used in various ways: as online journals, a means of designing hypertexts, and more radically, to create what calls the first native form of discourse on the internet. She argues that blogging best reflects the dream of Tim Berners-Lee (2000), who was one of the principal designers of the World Wide Web, to make the Web into something truly interactive both in terms of how texts are read and how they can be easily posted and accessed. The growing interest in blogging has aroused the interest of English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language fashion bloggers who see blogging as a simple and low cost way of giving readers an access to publishing, advertising and distributing their writings on the internet as a method of providing them with the experience of writing in a digital format, and as a means of discussing issues related to their social and personal lives. According to Fleishman (2002), blogging is the art of turning one's own filter on news and the world into something others might want to read, link to, and write about. The openness can give the bloggers a greater sense of the variety of possible audiences they can reach, both for understanding these audiences and learning strategies to respond to them. These types of on-line discussions have been referred to as "gated communities" (Lowe & Williams, 2004). With regards to world Englishes, Kachru (1992) conceived the idea of three concentric circles of the language. The inner circle represents the traditional bases and is composed of native speakers of English (e.g. United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Anglophone Canada and South Africa, and some of the Caribbean territories). The outer circle includes countries where English is not the native tongue but they use it as a second language (e.g. India, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong) while those that belong to the expanding circle are the rest of the world where English is used as the primary foreign language (e.g. Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Egypt, Indonesia etc.). This idea has helped to classify the eight Asian countries that will serve as the subject in this study on how they use English as a language. Kaplan (1966) claims that English writing is characterized by directness and deductive reasoning, while other languages (e.g. Oriental languages and Arabic) favor indirectness and inductive reasoning. At the same time, he attempts to link the differences in discourse organization between English and other languages to their respective cultures and thought patterns. He marked the birth of the notion now known as Contrastive Rhetoric. It assumes that different languages had their own specific and culturally bound conventions and patterns of writing. This may also tell if there are such characteristics in Asian fashion blogs. Moreover, with regards to each Asian blogger’s writing style, contrastive rhetoric should also be considered. Contrastive rhetoric is an area of research in second language acquisition that identifies problems in composition encountered by second language writers and, by referring to the rhetorical strategies of the first language, attempts to explain them. As summarized by Connor (1997), some internal and external forces give rise to this change in perspective. The internal force comes from criticism of contrastive rhetoric, which has required it to go beyond traditional linguistic parameters of analysis...
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