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Lecture 9 Teaching writing. Writing as a communicative skill

Writing is a communicative skill to send, store and retrieve messages with the help of written symbols. History of writing is very long. Writing originated in Mesopotamia and Egypt, pre-Columbian America, possibly in India. The earliest evidence of writing is cuneiform script from Mesopotamia at 3500 BC. Recent findings prove that "trident-shaped" markings on pottery existed in Pakistan in 5500 BC. There were six early systems of visual graphic language representations that contributed to the development of writing systems: ritualistic markings found in caves, tallying devices to keep count, property markings indicating owners, tokens and totems as symbols of clans, mnemonic devices to keep memory of things, pictographic/ideograph narratives. Modern writing systems are different and they include graphic representations of morphemes and words (Chinese), graphic representations of syllables (Hebrew), alphabetic representations of phonemes (English, Russian etc)

Writing can be expressive, poetic, informative and persuasive. Depending on the type of writing, the writer concentrates either on the subject matter of the written piece, or on the reader, or on one’s own feelings and thoughts. The triangle of the “subject matter”, “writer” and “reader” is shown below.

Writing can be done with the purpose of description, narration, exposition, persuasion and reasoning. Description presents typical features of a living being, an object or an abstract image to make it recognizable. Narration tells of events in succession. Exposition describes circumstances. Persuasion makes people change their behavior or train of thought. Reasoning invites the reader to follow the logic of the author and to co-operate in producing ideas.

Teaching to write is inseparable from teaching a text format, i.e. a typical lay-out of the text. For teaching writing it is essential to use the following formats of texts: congratulations and condolences, telegrams, notes, signs, labels, captions, notices, menus, advertisements, personal letters, invitations, condolences, business letters, applications for a job, CV, references, letters of complaint, recipes, diaries, log-books, dictation, note-taking, reproductions, abstracts, summaries, reviews, reports, précis, synopsis, case-studies, projects, essays, stories, poems.

A frequent format of teaching to write is an essay. There are the following types of essays for teaching: description of an object, a process or an event, comparison of views, processes or events for similarities, contrast of views, processes or events for differences, discussion of a problem, evaluation of circumstances, propositions or consequences, commenting on a concept, proposition or event, interpreting a concept, proposition, image or event. Among others the students can use the following format of writing an essay:

Topic introduction Topic development Topic restatement


Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1223

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