Different cultures – different discourses? Rhetorical patterns of business letters by English and Russian speakers

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The chapter presents a cross-cultural analysis of rhetorical patterns in Russian and American business correspondence. The choice of linguistic features to be analyzed was guided by previous research in English as a Second Language, English for Specific Purposes, and Professional Communication studies. A few areas of Hofstede’s (1984) theory of cultural dimensions, such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and individualism/collectivism, were adapted for the linguistic and rhetorical analysis of the American and Russian business letters, and the data were tested in terms of these cultural dimensions. The results help illustrate the approach that could be taken while teaching intercultural rhetoric in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) business writing courses as well as Business Communication courses.


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