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Rhetorical Moves:

1) "The move analysis of a genre aims to determine the communicative purposes of a text by
categorising diverse text units according to the particular communicative purpose of each
unit. Each one of the moves where a text is segmented constitutes a section, revealing a
specific communicative function, but this is linked to and contributes to the general
communicative objective of the whole genre."
(Giovanni Parodi, "Rhetorical Organisation of Textbooks." Academic and Professional
Discourse Genres in Spanish, ed. by G. Parodi. John Benjamins, 2010)

2) Move analysis is the most common example of such a specific genre-level analysis. Move
analysis was developed as a top-down approach (where the focus is on meaning and
ideas) to analyze the discourse structure of texts from a genre; the text is described as a
sequence of moves, where each move represents a stretch of text serving a particular
communicative (semantic) function. The analysis begins with the development of an
analytical framework, identifying and describing the move types that can occur in this
genre: these are the functional/communicative distinctions that move types can serve in
the target genre.
Subsequently selected texts are segmented in to moves, noting the move type of each
move. The overall discourse structure of a text can be described in relation to the
sequence of move types. For example, a research article may start with a move that
identifies the topic and reviews previous research, followed by a move that identifies a
gap in previous research, followed by moves that outline the goals of the present study ,
summarize the major findings, and/or outlines the organization of the article.
(An Approach to Corpus-based Discourse Analysis: The Move Analysis as Example by THOMAS
A . UPTON AND MARY ANN COHEN)

STUDY SAMPLE of a high school argumentative essay writing assignment


introduction:

Although the position of women in society today has


improved, there is still a great deal of sexual
discrimination. Do you agree?
Throughout this century, the role of women within society has changed,
and the majority of people feel that this change is for the better. More
women work than ever before, and it is accepted in Western culture
that many women now have careers. Nonetheless, in my opinion there
is still a great deal of sexual discrimination against women within
society, and the belief that sexual equality has been achieved is not
altogether accurate.

Source: Evans, V. (2000) Successful Writing Proficiency. Newbury, Express


Publishing, p 71

Some possible segments highlighted in bold type and italics:

Throughout this century, the role of women within society has


changed, and the majority of people feel that this change is for
the better. More women work than ever before, and it is
accepted in Western culture that many women now have
careers. Nonetheless, in my opinion there is still a great deal of sexual
discrimination against women within society, and the belief that sexual
equality has been achieved is not altogether accurate.

MOVE 1: Contextualizing issue(s) raised in assignment prompt


MOVE 2: Engaging closely with the issue(s) and perhaps previewing the
structure of the essay. This is the writers statement of position.

The Thesis Stage

This stage introduces the topic and advances the writers proposition or central
statement.

1. The gambit is distinguished primarily by its arresting effect. The function of the move is
to capture the readers attention, rather than inform.

1.1. This move is frequently found in editorials (special article in a newspaper, etc, giving an
opinion on some topical issue, usually written by the author):
e.g. The South African Government stands constantly trapped between the anvil of right-wing
resistance and the hammer of international opprobrium.

1.2.

You can include one or more of the following techniques:


Make reference to an unusual or striking idea/scene/situation

e.g. Imagine millions of people coming home from school or work every day to sit staring at a
wall for four hours.

Address the reader directly

e.g. You may think this is an exaggeration.

Ask a rhetorical question

e.g. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without cars?

Start with a quotation or thought-provoking statement

e.g. Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people
you wouldnt have in your home. David Frost once said.

2. Informing moves are realized through definitions, classifications, descriptions, critiques


or straw man arguments.
e.g. Education is an investment in people and is vital to the progress and development of society.

3. The proposition is the central move in the thesis stage and its only indispensable
component. This functions to furnish a specific statement of position which defines the
topic and gives a focus to the entire composition.
e.g. It is clear that more money is needed in the secondary sector and that more money should
be sent there.
e.g. The Universities should be given more financial assistance by the government to improve
the quality of graduates in this country.
3.1. The proposition is not always expressed so succinctly however and may emerge from an
informing move:
e.g. There is one sector that stands out in developing the country. That is the base of our
education system the community schools. This is where we should pay the closest attention.

3.2. or contextualizing information can be embedded in the proposition itself:


e.g. The justificiation for the decision not to extradite Father Patrick Ryan offered by the Irish
Attorney-General yesterday is a shabby evasion. (Times editorial 14/12/88)

3.3. Experienced feature writers often make their proposing move text initial by composing the
central statement in the form of a gambit:
e.g. In Thatchers Britain () powerful citadels of the worst type of trade unionism still flourish
doing mighty damage to our internal and overseas trade. (Times 14/12/88)

3.1.

An evaluation may follow the proposition, this provides a positive comment on it.

e.g. This sector is the most important because it provides basic knowledge and skills.
e.g. This is primarily because it is the base of our education system.

4. The marker structures the discourse by signposing its subsequent direction.


e.g. There are a number of reasons for increasing assistance to community education.
e.g. A solution has at least three interlocking parts. (guardian Weekly 13/11/88)

STUDY SAMPLE (Single Parent Struggle, part 1)

Single Parent Struggle


For many years, children growing up in a single parent family have been viewed as different.
Being raised by only one parent seems impossible to many yet over the decades it has become
more prevalent. In todays society many children have grown up to become emotionally stable
and successful whether they had one or two parents to show them the rocky path that life
bestows upon all human beings. The problem lies in the difference of children raised by single
parents versus children raised by both a mother and a father. Does a child need both parents?
Does a young boy need a father figure around? Does the government provide help for single
parents? What role do step-parents and step-siblings play? With much speculation, this topic
has become a very intriguing argument. What people must understand is that properly raising a
child does not rely on the structure of a family but should be more focused on the process or
values that are taught to these children as they learn to mature. Children of single parents can
be just as progressive with emotional, social and behavioral skills as those with two parents.
Source: http://www.mesacc.edu/~paoih30491/ArgumentEssay1.pdf

Single Parent Struggle

For many years, children growing up in a single parent family have been viewed as

different.
Being raised by only one parent seems impossible to many yet over the decades it has
become more prevalent. In todays society many children have grown up to become
emotionally stable and successful whether they had one or two parents to show them the
rocky path that life bestows upon all human beings. The problem lies in the difference of

children raised by single parents versus children raised by both a mother and a father.
Does a child need both parents? Does a young boy need a father figure around? Does the
government provide help for single parents? What role do step-parents and step-siblings

play? With much speculation, this topic has become a very intriguing argument.
What people must understand is that properly raising a child does not rely on the
structure of a family but should be more focused on the process or values that are taught

to these children as they learn to mature.


Children of single parents can be just as progressive with emotional, social and
behavioral skills as those with two parents.

MOVE 1: Attracts the attention of the reader by showing a dramatic fact about the way single
parent children have been viewed by people.
MOVE 2: presents background information for contextualization of the topic: children can be
found who achieve emotional stability regardless of their family type.
MOVE 3: personal, specific statement of position which defines the topic and gives a focus to
what will come later in the essay
MOVE 4: structures the discourse by signposting its subsequent direction.

The Argument Stage


This stage presents the infrastructure of reasons which characterize the genre. The argument
stage consists of a possible four move cycle repeated indefinitely in a specific order.
1. The marker frames the sequence and connects it to both the steps in the argument and to
the proposition. The shift to a new sequence may be implicit in a topic change, being
embedded in the claim, but writers often wish to explicitly guide the reader through the
argument stage. There are two main devices to do this:
a) Listing the signals such as first(ly), second(ly), next, etc. This closed inventory of
formulaic elements provide an inventory of items but require interpretive work by the
reader to discover the relationships between them.
b) Transition signals to indicate the step to another sequence, marking addition, contrast,
condition, specificity, etc. by adverbial connectives, conjunctions and comments
indicating changes in the discussion.
e.g. Turning to the economic benefits of vocational education
e.g. Another way to improve the standard is to
e.g. However, a start must be made somewhere and

2. A restatement of the proposition in some form is common here, particularly because


foregrounding the psoposition provides a reminder of the subject.
e.g. The second reason why more money should be directed at the tertiary sector is
e.g. Another way to improve the quality of primary education is

3. The central move in the argument sequence is the claim. This is a reason endorsing the
validity of the proposition. Typically three tactics of persuasion are used:
a) A statement appealing to the potency of shared presuppositions or expectations
about topic background. This is an invitation to agree with the writers assumptions
and thereby accept the reasonableness of the position. There is the expectation to
understand events in the same way as the writer by accepting the argument as
relevant.
e.g. With the basic skills we learn from community schools it would be easier for us to
understand the trade and economy of our country. : In this statement the reader is expected to
accept the writers argument as relevant and the interpretation as favourable to the writers
support for community education.
b) the writer may approach his audience by presenting a generalization based on factual
evidence or expert opinion:
e.g. We spend least for each sudent in community schools for the highest social returns (see
Table 1)
e.g. British Rails claim that it takes two years to build new trains to meet these demands has
been dismissed by Richard Hope, Editor of Railway Gazette, as pure hogwash. (Nigel Hawkes,
The Observer 18/12/88)
e.g. Sir John Guise states that this sector prepares students to participate in the economy of the
country more directly.
c) or you may resort to a declaration of opinion aiming for maximum effect with
minimum regard for opposing views.
It cannot be denied that higher forms of education decrease our dependence on foreign
domination in the economy.
An example of how wrong and mad things are can be found in the discussion about Scotland.
(Niel Ascherson, The Observer 18/12/88)
4. The support move is an indispensable second part to the claim in a tied pair of moves. It
furnishes explicit reinforcement for the claim and can comprise several paragraphs
appealing to several sources of evidence. The support move is therefore both directly
relevant to the claim and seeks to demonstrate the relevance of the claim to the
proposition.
The connection almost always involves some tacit understandings or warrants and these differ
enormously in the generality of their accepntance. Obviously the writers knowedge of the

audience is important here as the length and complexity of the support move often reflects the
extent he/she believes the warrant diverges from shared understandings. Where a common
knowledge base is assumed with the reader, the writer can expect less resistance to a particular
claim and leave a great deal unsaid.
e.g. all children should be allowed a basic education.

Economy is not possible however with more specific warrants or where the warrant appeals to
readers specialized knowledge.
e.g. At the moment, rail suffers from its heritage.

STUDY SAMPLE (Single Parent Struggle, part 2)

People claim that the only way for children to gain full emotional and behavioral skills is to be
raised by both a mother and a father. When a topic such as this one has a broad amount of
variables it is impossible to simply link these problems to only having one parent. In the article,
Single-parent families cause juvenile crime, author Robert L. Maginnis states, Children from
single-parent families are more likely to have behavior problems because they tend to lack
economic security and adequate time with parents. The simple statement that raw criminals
are products of single-parent adolescence is absurd. What this writer must understand is that it
can be extremely difficult for one parent to raise a child by themselves for many reasons. A
single-parent must work full time to be able to afford to provide for themselves and their child.
They must also be able to still have time to offer an exuberant amount of emotional time for the
well being of their child. However, even though this may seem impossible, it can be done.
As this subject continues to be looked down on people must realize that single parents are
becoming more common in todays world. Since 1995 the American family structure for
children ages fourteen to eighteen consists of forty-two percent living in a first marriage family
with both parents, twenty-two percent living in a second marriage step-family, twenty-one
percent living in a single parent, divorced or separated family, six percent living in a single
parent never married family and three percent living in a single widow parent family. This is an
extremely scary statistics considering that fifty-eight percent of children in America are living
in a single parent family. This is a chilling percentage because it shows how little faith is put
into a relationship before actually deciding to have children. Unfortunately not all singleparents take the time to perform the vital tasks needed to raise their children. Parents who
think they would never be able to provide emotional stability for their children by themselves
should have taken the time to think this through before deciding to become parents. Accidents

may happen once in awhile but in most cases adults know what is at stake when planning to
have a child. Plain and simple, if youre not ready, then dont do it. If you do decide to have this
child and you love this child, then you can be a good parent. There are many ways to enhance
the well being of your child if you simply apply yourselves as parents.
Magginnis later states that, Boys who do not have fathers as male role models suffer
especially. While it is extremely important for a male child to have his father around, there are
other ways of teaching a young boy the lessons he needs to become a man. I know from
personal experience that what the author of this article is trying to convey is wrong. I never had
my father around while growing up and I did in fact have many positive male role models. My
Grandfather was always there to help guide me as I slowly blossomed into a young man.
Anytime my mother had to work to support us, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
would step up and provide the time and attention I needed. Therefore, I had the best support
group I could have had as a young man. Being a child with a single mother had its benefits.
Although I came to find how hard it really was for her to always meet the needs of her child, she
did the best job that she possibly could and gave me the knowledge that I needed to become a
successful man without the guidance of my father.
I did however have the experience of dealing with a step-parent. Today, twenty five percent of
all American children will spend at least some time of their growing-up years in a stepfamily.
This seems fine for single parents because they feel like they can start over in a new relationship
and receive help from their spouse both emotionally and financially. A step-parent can cause
confusion and emotional stress on the child since they have just had to adjust to only one
parent and now have to adjust to a new parental figure stepping into the family role. Another
factor of bringing a step-parent into a single familys life is new step-siblings to get along with.
It might not be justified for a step-parent to punish their step-child like they would their own
flesh and blood. As long as both parents have an understanding that their family comes first
and that it is important to communicate between themselves and with the children, a stepfamily could survive.
Children who are raised with both a mother and a father have more attention from both parents
therefore they get the emotional time they need to progress in life. This could be true but not in
all circumstances. It would not be beneficial at all to grow up in a two parent family who did
nothing but argue and put each-other down. Naturally, a child who sees this from a very young
age until they are ready to be out on their own would only follow in the footsteps of all that they
have ever known. Children who are raised by one parent who devotes their time and emotion
into their child would benefit much more than a child who has both parents showing them that

fighting and arguing is acceptable.


Not all families are lucky enough to have a healthy structure. It is important for society and
government aids to notice these structural differences and take action. There should be
government funded programs to help assist single-parent families with childcare and finances
for parents who must work and still have time for their children.
Source: http://www.mesacc.edu/~paoih30491/ArgumentEssay1.pdf

The Conclusion Stage


It serves the purpose of consolidating the discourse and restrospectively affirm what has been
communicated.
1. Often times it includes a marker from a restricted class, normally thus, therefore, to
conclude, the lesson to be drawn is, in the light of the above it can be said that, etc.
2. The consolidation move refers back to the content of the argument section to relate the
themes of the argument stage with the proposition. This is the central part of the
conclusion.
e.g. Thus the quality of the graduates is improved and the varios sectors of the community are
satisfies.
e.g. many changes need to be made to improve the quality and quantity of students today.

3. The affirmation is an optional restatement of the proposition.


e.g. To sum up, I strongly advise that more money should be spent on the primary sector.
e.g. The community level is thus a crucial stage in development and therefore deserves more.
4. the close provides a prospective focus. It looks forward to unstated aspects of the discussion
by widening the context.
e.g. In turn, this will increase the standard of living in the villages.
e.g. The future of the country will be jeopardized if nothing is done to improve this sector.

STUDY SAMPLE (Single Parent Struggle, part 3)


Whether its a mother and a father, a single mother, or a single father, children need guidance.

They will only become a product of what they are taught from a young age and these children
are deeply affected emotionally by the amount of love and compassion that is put into raising
them. Whichever family structure is implied it must be one of respect and strong moral values
that they can someday pass on to their family.
Source: http://www.mesacc.edu/~paoih30491/ArgumentEssay1.pdf