Writing Essays In German

Writing Essays In German-27
The present article looks at some of the major relevant studies, moving from general assumptions about culture-specific thinking styles (Section 2) to the more specific issues of academic writing (Sections 3 and 4).

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Es sind vorbildliche Ehren, in denen das nationale Bindemittel der Muttersprache bei diesen Völkern steht, und etwas heiter Vorbildliches hat die genußreiche Ehrfurcht, mit der man ihre Formen und Lautgesetze betreut.

Man spricht mit Vergnügen, man hört mit Vergnügen – und man hört mit Urteil […][1] For a long time the idea has been around that the ‘spirit’ of a language exerts a formative influence on its speakers and writers.

It will come as no surprise, then, that Widdowson’s thesis has been challenged and, at least to some extent, disproved by a number of later studies.

These show that classification by academic disciplines and text types yields a more subtly differentiated picture of cross-cultural difference.

In fairness to Widdowson, however, it must be pointed out that, when setting up his thesis, he probably had in mind only exact sciences such as physics or chemistry, where there is indeed a greater degree of rigidity in discourse conventions, especially as far as textual macrostructure is concerned.

However, other disciplines claiming science status, such as social psychology (see Hutz 1997) or sports science (see Trumpp 1998), have remained averse to abandoning culture-specific patterns.

Cette pluralité des pratiques d’écriture, conclut-on, doit être préservée comme une valeur en soi, et elle appelle une attention particulière de la part du traducteur.

Unter Südländern ist die Sprache ein Ingredienz der Lebensfreude, dem man weit lebhaftere gesellschaftliche Schätzung entgegenbringt, als der Norden sie kennt.

I take issue with the first position here, thus favouring the second.

Universalists such as Widdowson (1979: 51 ff.) start from the assumption that, since scientists all over the world use the same concepts and procedures in their work, science constitutes a ‘secondary cultural system’ which is detached from the primary linguacultures.


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