On enumerative prose in ESL
The rhetorical structure and learning challenges of one type of collection
A number of researchers (Meyer 1975, 1977a, 1977b; Meyer, Brandt & Bluth 1980; Meyer & Freedle 1984; Carrell 1983; Connor 1984) have claimed that Collection is one of the most rudimentary of expository text configurations. They suggest that, unlike expository configurations such as Comparison, Causation and Problem/Solution, it possesses no top-level structure at all. In this paper, I will re-examine the structure of one type of Collection by building on a set of claims by Tadros (1994) which suggest, contra Meyer and others, a clear basic rhetorical make-up for Collection. I will closely examine a type of Collection referred to by Tadros as Enumeration, to argue that it possesses a well-defined constituent structure and set of interconstituent relationships. I will then analyse randomly selected samples from a body of twenty essays by Cantonese-speaking freshmen enrolled in the English department of a Hong Kong university, to support two claims: 1° the majority of these learners have considerable difficulty conforming to the interconstituent constraints on Enumeration; 2° as a group they show evidence of three developmentally differentiable levels of acquisition of the rhetorical structure of Enumeration. In a final section, I will consider the pedagogical implications of these findings.
Published online: 01 January 1999
Carrell, Patricia L.
Fuller, D. P.
Meyer, B. J.
Meyer, Bonnie J. F.
Meyer, Bonnie J. F., David M. Brandt and George J. Bluth
Meyer, Bonnie J. F., and Roy O. Freedle