Response to Selected Article: Kaplan, R. B., & Grabe, W. (2002). A modern history of written discourse analysis. Journal of second language writing, 11(3), 191-223.

The main purpose of Kaplan and Grabe (2002) is to analyze the written discourse in respect to the structuring of written text in accordance with some consistent framework. The article also gives a historical review of the linguistic and structural organization of text for its understanding interpretation and other uses. The term “discourse analysis” has been interchangeably used for both written discourse and spoken discourse but the main focus of the author in this article is on the “analysis of written discourse”, the frameworks used to organize texts to communicate. This article provides an opportunity to its reader to understand the very nature of the composition and organization of text materials from different perspectives.

I enjoyed reading this article because it provided me a great insight in to the development of the different frameworks to understand and analyze written text discourse. The article defines different models like text linguistic, cognitive models, discourse analysis and contrastive rhetoric that pose a unique approach in to the field of writing texts (p. 193,194).  This helped me understand the reasons of different writing styles and how humans have used different strategies to communicate effectively with others to convey the real meaning of their writings.

Kaplan and Grabe (2002) have structured different ideas in an easy to understand structural format. Historical development of the field of “discourse analysis of written text” have been put in a meaningful manner. The main focus is on the developments taking place since 1970’s and so on when researches were first published.  Ideas have been explained with practical examples from day to day life where ever necessary. Especially these examples are very helpful in understanding the construction of sentences in conveying complex ideas (p.202). The information in this article is easy to relate to one’s own life when it comes to grasping the main purpose of different ideas that a writer intends to provide to his/her readers.

Kaplan and Grabe (2002) have done an extensive literature review of research carried out over the last 40 years. Research standards have been elaborated to provide an overall idea of the discussion. Kaplan and Grabe (2002) have then explained the point of view of different researchers from diverse fields like anthropology and linguistics. The article then systematically organizes the research findings under their own constructed heading to provide their readers with an easy to understand overview. For example linguistic approach has been explained under six headings for a focused and better understanding (p.196). The article in my opinion has tried to explain complex ideas in a categorized way that makes a real sense to a lot of readers. There are some areas in the article that I think should have been explained more to provide a much clearer insight but I think that does not affect the overall quality. For example Local and global coherence systems (p. 199, 200).

When I am writing some text I have do not think of the basis of processes that are involved that help me combine words and write sentences. Also if I write some text about a specific topic and someone else writes about the same topic, the resulting text is very different from each other. After reading this article I have come to notice that different people have different cultures and mindset and the text they write reflects not only the available information of the topic they are writing but also there is an influence of the thinking and cultural aspects. Also the understanding of the grammatical rules of a language play an important role in writing in those languages. Therefore people with the same mindset and cultural background might have different written skills depending about their knowledge of the language they are writing in.

I think this is a very interesting article. This article helped me understand different aspects of written material. This will be more helpful for those students who are studying languages and who want to become writers in their future. Also this article can help in understanding your own writing styles and what the importance of words is and how they combine to make sentences. There are many terminologies in this article that have their own explanations that can be explored for more interesting sides of the skills of writing and how writing helps convey messages to different readers.


Kaplan, R. B., & Grabe, W. (2002). A modern history of written discourse analysis. Journal of second language writing, 11(3), 191-223.