The Influence Of Native Culture In EFL Argumentative Writing
Building a strong argument in written form could be challenging for learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) for two reasons: they are still grappling with the target language and have little knowledge about the rhetoric in the target culture. This paper focuses on the latter, examining the problems that the Indonesian learners face when writing an argumentative text in English due to cultural differences. Twenty eight adult EFL learners who participated in a language training to improve their English proficiency were asked to write an argumentative essay consisting of an introductory paragraph, two paragraphs in the body and a concluding paragraph. In this paper the analysis was confined to the introductory paragraphs that they wrote, and the results showed that the way they organized the ideas to build an argument in the introductory paragraphs was influenced by their native culture to a certain degree. Rather than expressing their thoughts and opinions in a linear fashion like native speakers of English commonly do, some of them wrote their arguments by beating around the bush, making it harder for the readers to identify and understand these writers’ stance about a certain issue. Moreover, some others even avoided giving an overt argument in their paragraphs and embraced both contrasting views about a particular issue instead. Some implications for the teaching of writing argumentative text were proposed.