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Business Letter Writing: English, French, and Japanese

Susan Jenkins and John Hinds
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 21, No. 2 (Jun., 1987), pp. 327-349
DOI: 10.2307/3586738
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3586738
Page Count: 23
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Business Letter Writing: English, French, and Japanese
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Abstract

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.

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