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A Rhetorical Comparison of the Argumentative Discourse of American and Chinese Hearings

Author: DaiYanXia
Tutor: ChaiGaiYing
School: Zhejiang Technology and Business University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: American and Chinese hearing rhetorical comparison argumentativediscourse
CLC: H313
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 15
Quote: 0
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Abstract


Public hearing was introduced into China over ten years ago, but it has not been adjusted to the conditions here (Tang,2010). One of the most important reasons is the weakness of argumentation in Chinese hearing discourses. This thesis employs Vancil’s argumentative model for policy-question controversies, Toulmin’s argumentative model and Aristotle’s appeals (logos, ethos and pathos) to construct an analytical framework of hearings, for the purpose of making a rhetorical comparison of argumentative discourse of American and Chinese hearings.The thesis takes speakers’statements of four American and Chinese hearings from official websites as data, displays hearings’argumentative processes by Toulmin’s argumentative layout, observes the type and frequency of argumentative elements, and then investigates the similarities and differences of American and Chinese hearings discourses.Data analysis demonstrates that both American and Chinese speakers employ the basic DWC argumentation schema, the similar types of Data, and mostly the negative rhetoric. The differences are:(1) The macro-schema of American hearings’argument is chain pattern, while Chinese one dot pattern.(2) Comprehensive Claims are more in American hearings, while Motive Claims are salient in Chinese ones.(3) American hearing speakers employ more abstract reasoning, appeal more to the reputation of a third person and arouse multi-emotions in audience. And Chinese speakers prefer the concrete reasoning, show good moral characters and appeal more to mercy. Degrading a third person only appears in American hearings.(4) More Rebuttals are used by American speakers than Chinese speakers. Similarities are due to the common argumentative characters of human’s nature and the hearings’argumentative nature. Differences are mainly due to their different dominant cultures, thinking patterns and democratic politics. Chinese speakers can strengthen their awareness of argument, speaker and audience.

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