"Please consider my request for an interview": A Cross-cultural Genre Analysis of Cover Letters Written by Canadian and Taiwanese College Students

  • Hsiao-I Hou

Abstract

In this study, similarities and differences among generic structures in 80 cover letters written by Taiwanese and Canadian college students were investigated, adopting Upton and Connor’s (2001) framework. The results demonstrated that Canadian students tend to write longer letters, use a greater variety of word types and sentence structures, and choose more professional words than do Tai- wanese students. From the moves-based analysis results, the study revealed that to achieve the main communicative purpose of a cover letter, which is to be con- tacted for an interview, the Canadians employed lengthy sentences and various strategies to demonstrate their qualifications. By contrast, Taiwanese students employed different communicative elements, including direct strategies to ex- press their desire for an interview and uses of formulaic expressions that were not observed in the Canadian corpus. The research findings suggest that the move- structural and rhetorical differences are due to writers’ differences in cultural backgrounds and their rhetorical and lexical knowledge of the particular genre. The results of this study provide implications for teaching English for specific purposes to nonnative speakers.

Author Biography

Hsiao-I Hou
Dr. Hsiao-I Hou obtained her Master’s degree in TESL from McGill University and her PhD from the University of Minnesota. She has worked as a full-time assistant professor at National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism in Taiwan. Her research interests include corpus linguistics and English for specific purposes.
Published
2014-02-20
How to Cite
Hou, H.-I. (2014). "Please consider my request for an interview": A Cross-cultural Genre Analysis of Cover Letters Written by Canadian and Taiwanese College Students. TESL Canada Journal, 30(7), 45. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v30i7.1151
Section
Articles