Latest News on Letter Writing : July 21

[1] Business Letter Writing: English, French, and Japanese

This article examines the form and content of business letters of request in English, French, and Japanese, focusing on prescriptive accounts in the respective languages. Since writing is the process of creating meaning, the examination of a highly prescriptive form of written communication increases our understanding of the varied interpretations of the writer’s purpose and reader’s expectations in different cultures. The rhetorical differences of note in this comparative exercise were that despite amazingly similar surface characteristics, American business letters are reader oriented, French business letters are writer oriented, and Japanese business letters are oriented to the space between the writer and reader.

[2] The pragmatics of letter‐writing

This paper focuses on personal letter‐writing as a mode of communication between an L2 writer and an L1 reader, a little explored discourse type, yet particularly vital and salient in the process of language teaching and learning. The corpus is composed of 120 personal letters. They are supposed to be written to British English native speakers. The data were analyzed and discussed in the light of the theoretical insights of a number of modern linguists, notably Grice’s Cooperative Principle and Leech’s Principle of Politeness as well as Brown and Levinson’s views of politeness strategies. The main objective of the study is to examine the corpus of letters in terms of the sociocultural background of the writers, that is, to establish interpretive links between the type of material collected and its situational and cultural context. As a non‐nativized variety of English, the language used by the students exhibits certain peculiarities likely to be the result of contradiction between two different cultures. The major argument therefore developed in this study is that these peculiarities can be seen as “errors” which are the by‐product of incomplete understanding of the sociocultural background of the target language.

[3] Alphabetic Skills in Preschool: A Preliminary Study of Letter Naming and Letter Writing

Development of letter naming and writing (skills in writing first name, dictated and copied letters, and dictated and copied numbers) was examined in 79 preschool children (M age = 56 months). Skills were assessed in the fall to determine the status of these procedural skills that are components of alphabetic knowledge at the start of the school year. Children with high letter-naming scores also had high scores on letter writing, including dictated or copied letters and writing some or all of the letters of their names. Letter-naming skills were related to number-writing skills whether the numbers were dictated or copied. The highest writing scores were found for first name writing compared to writing or copying letters and numbers. A focus on the development of procedural knowledge in the preschool period may yield the hopep for impacts on later reading skills that has not been found in curricula emphasizing conceptual knowledge (e.g., knowledge of print concepts, book conventions).

[4] The Teaching of Essays, Articles and Letter Writing: Cooperative Teaching Approach

English Language occupies a central place in Nigeria as the official language. Today, teachers are calling for more effective methods of communicating information and assisting the students in the learning process because the issue of poor performances in English Language examinations is alarming and cannot be glossed over. It is noted that new pedagogies are being introduced to the curriculum from time to time; and approaches from other fields such as anthropology, psychology, sociology are encouraged. This indicates that innovations and constant improvements are needed in the teaching process. One of the innovative ways of improving students’ learning and performance is by encouraging cooperative approach. The ‘cooperative writing approach’ to teaching of English Language involves role-playing and role-shifting. The best bet in teaching is the creative and practical component. Thus, cooperative model is a recently developed socio-cultural method of the teaching aspects of a topic in any subject or course in a participatory and role-shifting manner. This approach is sociological and anthropological in orientation because it allows students to relate well in learning process. Hence, the paper identifies ways by which select topics could be taught in schools by giving practical examples. The discoveries in the teaching of students through the cooperative model will significantly improve teaching and learning of English as a Second Language in Nigeria.

[5] Towards Genre-based Approach to Writing Syllabus in Arab Tertiary Institutions

This paper investigates some challenges in the writing of English as a foreign language in the Arab world and proposes genre-based solutions to them. For the most part, these challenges are given impetus by the use of a writing syllabus that does not reflect recent developments into the linguistic theory such as contrastive rhetoric, discourse analysis, genre analysis, etc. In that connection, the paper advocates the view that learners’ writing problems can best be addressed by the adoption of the genre approach to writing because, unlike the existing structure-oriented curriculum, it introduces writing as an activity where the students can write with a communicative purpose rather than practicing it as an exercise in English grammar. An examination of the writing courses in four Arab universities has revealed that most of these courses are a mere exercise in the lexicon-grammatical structure of English. This has been argued to provide lip service to writing education at tertiary level.


[1] Jenkins, S. and Hinds, J., 1987. Business letter writing: English, French, and Japanese. TESOL quarterly21(2), pp.327-349.

[2] Al‐Khatib, M.A., 2001. The pragmatics of letter‐writing. World Englishes20(2), pp.179-200.

[3] Molfese, V.J., Beswick, J., Molnar, A. and Jacobi-Vessels, J., 2006. Alphabetic skills in preschool: A preliminary study of letter naming and letter writing. Developmental Neuropsychology29(1), pp.5-19.

[4] Ayodele, V., Akinkurolere, S., Ariyo, K., Mahmud, O. and Abuya, E., 2017. The teaching of essays, articles and letter writing: Cooperative teaching approach. Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, pp.1-7.

[5] Ezza, E.S.Y., 2014. Towards genre-based approach to writing syllabus in Arab tertiary institutions. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, pp.573-580.

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