To Express Ideas in an Organized Written Form
Spanish 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 Spanish, 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”
This indirect writing style that native speakers of Spanish
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 Spanish:
Germanic and Romance Languages
of Logic Styles in Germanic vs. Romance Languages
VERBAL OR WITTEN
Portuguese, Spanish, Italian . .
Source: Kaplan, 1972 (p 257).