JoLIE 2:1 (2009)

Back to issue page







Naser Rashidi

Shiraz University, Iran


Zahra Alimorad Dastkhezr

Shiraz University, Iran






The relationship between first language (L1) and second language (L2) writing has attracted the attention of L2 writing researchers. Recent studies have pointed to not only differences but also similarities between L1 and L2 writing. The present study compared L1 (Persian) and L2 (English) organizational patterns in the argumentative writing of Iranian EFL student-writers. The study made within-subject comparisons of L1 and L2 compositions in terms of organizational patterns, organization scores, and overall quality. Student perceptions of L1 and L2 organization were also investigated by incorporating their assertions of their own L1/L2 compositions into the analysis. The results revealed that (a) a majority of students employed deductive type organizational patterns in both L1 and L2; (b) despite similarities between L1 and L2 organizational patterns, L2 organization scores were not significantly correlated with L1 organization scores; (c) L2 composition total scores differed significantly from those of L1; and (d) some students evidenced problems in organizing both L1 and L2 texts. Possible implications of the results are discussed as they pertain to research and pedagogy.


Key words: Organizational pattern; Argumentative writing; Deductive organizational pattern; Inductive organizational pattern; Composition writing.





Carroll, J. A. (1960). Vectors of prose style. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Style in Language (pp. 283–292). New York: Technology Press.


Clyne, M. G. (1980). Writing, testing, and culture. The Secondary Teacher, 11, 13–16.


Clyne, M. G. (1981). Culture and discourse structure. Journal of Pragmatics, 5(1), 61–66. DOI:    


Clyne, M. G. (1987). Cultural differences in the organization of academic texts: English and German. Journal of Pragmatics, 11(1), 211–247. DOI:


Connor, U. (1984). Recall of text: Differences between first and second language readers. TESOL Quarterly, 18(2), 239–256. DOI:


Connor, U. (1990). Linguistic/rhetorical measures for international persuasive student writing. Research in the Teaching of English, 24(1), 67–87. Retrieved from


Farhady, H., Jafarpoor, A., & Birjandi, P. (1994). Language skills testing: From theory to practice. Tehran: SAMT.


Hamp-Lyons, L. (1990). Second language writing: Assessment issues. In B. Kroll (Ed.), Second Language Writing: Research Insights for the Classroom (pp. 69–87). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Hinds, J. (1987). Reader vs. writer responsibility: A new typology. In U. Connor, & R. B. Kaplan (Eds.), Writing across Languages: Analysis of L2 Text. (pp. 141–152). Boston: Addison-Wesley.


Hirose, K. (2003). Comparing L1 and L2 organizational patterns in the argumentative writing of Japanese EFL students. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(2), 181–209. DOI: 10.1016/S1060-3743(03)00015-8


Hirose, K., & Sasaki, M. (1994). Explanatory variables for Japanese students’ expository writing in English: An exploratory study. Journal of Second Language Writing, 3(3), 203–229. DOI: 10.1016/1060-3743(94)90017-5


Jacobs, H. L., Zinkgraf, S. A., Wormuth, D. R., Hartfiel, V. F., & Hughey, J. B. (1981). Testing ESL composition: A practical approach. Rowley: Newbury House Publishers.


Kaplan, R. B. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education. Language Learning, 16(1-2), 1–20. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-1770.1966.tb00804.x  


Kobayashi, H., & Rinnert, C. (1996). Factors affecting composition evaluation in an EFL context: Cultural rhetorical pattern and readers’ background. Language Learning, 46(3), 397–437. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-1770.1996.tb01242.x


Kubota, R. (1992). Contrastive rhetoric of Japanese and English: A critical approach. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Toronto. Retrieved from  


Kubota, R. (1998). An investigation of L1-L2 transfer in writing among Japanese university students: Implications for contrastive rhetoric. Journal of Second Language Writing, 7(1), 69–100. DOI: 10.1016/S1060-3743(98)90006-6


Liebman, J. (1992). Toward a new contrastive rhetoric: Differences between Arabic and Japanese rhetorical instruction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1(2), 141–165. DOI: 10.1016/1060-3743(92)90013-F


Mohan, B. A., & Lo, W. A. Y. (1985). Academic writing and Chinese students: Transfer and developmental factors. TESOL Quarterly, 19(3), 515–534. DOI: 10.2307/3586276  


Noor, R. (2001). Contrastive rhetoric in expository prose: Approaches and achievements. Journal of Pragmatics, 33(2), 255–269. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00136-8


Ostler, S. E. (1988). A study of the contrastive rhetoric of Arabic, English, Japanese, and Spanish. Dissertation Abstracts International, 49(2), 245A–246A.


Purves, A. C. (1986). Rhetorical communities, the international student, and basic writing. Journal of Basic Writing, 5(1), 38–51. Retrieved from


Rinnert, C., & Kobayashi, H. (2001). Differing perceptions of EFL writing among readers in Japan. Modern Language Journal, 85(2), 189–209. DOI: 10.1111/0026-7902.00104


Sasaki, M., & Hirose, K. (1996). Explanatory variables for EFL students’ expository writing. Language Learning, 46(1), 137–174. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-1770.1996.tb00643.x


Zellermayer, M. (1988). An analysis of oral and literate texts: Two types of reader-writer relationships in Hebrew and English. In B. A. Rafoth, & D. L. Rubin (Eds.), The Social Construction of Written Communication (pp. 287–303). Norwood: Ablex.



How to cite this articleRashidi, N., & Dastkhezr, Z. A. (2009). A comparison of English and Persian organizational patterns in the argumentative writing of Iranian EFL students. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – Jolie, 2(1), 131–152. DOI:  



For details on subscription, go to: