A Contrastive Rhetoric Analysis of Internship Cover Letters Written by Taiwanese and Canadian Hospitality Majors

Hsiao-I Hou, Min-Yu Li


This study investigates English cover letters written by twenty-six Taiwanese and twenty-six Canadian college students majoring in hospitality management in Canada for their internship applications. Based on the genre analysis framework (Bhatia, 1993; Swales, 1990; Upton and Connor, 2001), this study uses a move-based analysis to investigate the similarities and differences in the cover letters written by the Taiwanese students and their Canadian counterparts. The uses of positive and negative politeness strategies are also analyzed. The results indicate that there are significant differences in length, lexical density, and descriptions of desire for applying the job, providing arguments in benefits for the company, and politeness expression between Taiwanese and Canadian students’ cover letters. There is no distinction between Taiwanese and Canadian writers in their use of positive or negative politeness strategies exclusively. Based on the study results, suggestions for ESP teaching and research are provided.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v3i1.1135

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