Chapter Summary of ESL Writers by Bruce and Rafoth, Second Edition
Chapter 6: “ ‘Earth Aches by Midnight’: Helping ESL Writers Clarify Their Intended Meaning” by Minett
This chapter was focused on how to help the ESL writers edit their papers so that they make sense to the English reader. It started with pointing out specific reasons as to why you may not understand the meaning in an ESL writer’s paper. Two of these reasons include: “logic” is different in different cultures; and, other cultures put more responsibility on the reader to figure out the meaning of the text. The chapter then gives different methods to help understand what the writer means. The first is the topical structure analysis. This method had the writer point out the topic of sentences in a paragraph and then would show the relationship between them to the writer. The next method is focus on form. In this method, the tutor focuses on individual words that, used incorrectly, change the whole meaning of the sentence. It is important, though, that the tutor not just gives the correct word, but rather sees if the writer can find the error themselves. The chapter lastly talked about interactional cues, such as pitch in the voice, facial expressions, and pause times. Being able to interpret those will help you as a tutor to know if the writer just needs time to figure it out, or if he/she is just confused and needs you to just tell him/her.
· “logic is not universal but culture specific…”
· Understanding culture differences
· Writer friendly vs. reader friendly
· Topical structure analysis
· Let them find and fix their error if they can
· The difference between writer friendly and writer friendly
· How do w attempt to understand cultural differences?
· Where is the line between fixing the writer’s paper and helping them fix their own?