chapter  8
13 Pages

Gross-cultural communication

In this chapter, we shall focus on one particular text type-argumentation-and discuss it in relation to the way persuasive strategies may differ in different cultures. The term ‘culture’ should not be defined too restrictively. Differences in persuasive strategy, whether within the same language or between languages, must be seen in both social and linguistic terms. Cultural variation will be detected, on the one hand, in the way, say, a working class supporter of the British Labour Party and a Conservative British government minister argue and, on the other hand, in the way speakers of different languages use persuasive strategy. Furthermore, whether within the same language or between languages, cultural differences in argumentative style have been found to reflect deep divisions within society (Scollon and Scollon 1995). Texts may thus be seen as carriers of ideological meaning, a factor which makes them particularly vulnerable to changing socio-cultural norms.