To Express Ideas in an Organized Written Form
Portuguese composition is culturally based and has
its own logic. It may manifest itself in verbal or written
communications in English. Kaplan (1972) points out that rhetoric
is a universal concept that “varies from culture
to culture and even from time to time within a given culture
. . . English is not a better or a worse system than any other,
but it is different” (p. 247).
In written Portuguese, the sequence of
thought is not linear unlike English. A topic sentence may
be placed anywhere in a paragraph, from the middle to the
end. Ideas are coordinated instead of subordinated and a lot
of more information may be provided. This style comes across
to an English teacher as disorganized and including too many
irrelevant details. Before a point is made, the student may
provide a lot of contextual information. Indeed, there is “a greater freedom to digress or to introduce extraneous
material” (Kaplan, 1972).
This indirect writing style that native speakers of Portuguese
may use in written English may be mistaken for a learning/writing
“problem”, because it may look disorganized and
unfocused. However, it is simply organized according to different
cultural framework. The following graphic representation developed
by Kaplan (1972) compares English rhetoric to the rhetoric
of other romance languages including Portuguese:
Germanic and Romance Languages
of Logic Styles in Germanic vs. Romance Languages
VERBAL OR WITTEN
Portuguese, Spanish, Italian . .
Source: Kaplan, 1972 (p. 257).