Analyzing contrastive features in English and Persian argumentative writing

2016 IJRSE – Volume 5 Issue 2


Kamyabi Gol, Atiyeh*
Department of Linguistics, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran (


Having the ability to write effectively is important to both achieve and also to demonstrate academic success. With the growing number of Iranian students studying overseas, it is necessary to see whether the Persian rhetorical culture influences students’ English writing. In this study, the researcher aimed to investigate the style differences between English and Persian writing and the possibility of transfer. A total of 65 university students took part in the study. Data was collected through two argumentative writing tasks and a 15-20 minute interview. A total of 130 argumentative essays (65 Persian and 65 English) were analyzed according to the five contrastive features framework provided by Xing, Wang, and Spencer (2008). Inter-rater reliability was used in order to enhance the precision in essay correction. The results show that there is a great possibility of transfer from the participants’ L1 into L2 in the areas of number of topic sentences per paragraph, and also figurative language usage. Traces of backward transfer were also detected in inductive/deductive use of thesis statement in writing. Practical implications for teachers, professors and also students have been provided at the end of the paper.

Keywords: contrastive features; contrastive rhetoric styles; argumentative essays; English and Persian rhetorical styles



*Corresponding Author