English Ph.D. Dissertations


Indirectness in Vietnamese Newspaper Commentaries: A Pilot Study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English/Rhetoric and Writing

First Advisor

Kristine Blair (Advisor)


Since ESL literature has ascribed circuitous textual development, covert ideational connections, and usage of implicative devices to second-language-writing indirectness, the purpose of this project was to inquire into (1) whether Vietnamese writing in both English and Vietnamese exhibited any or all the three aspects of indirectness, (2) how the employment of the second language as a vehicle of thought as well as the concern with the intended audience might influence the writer’s utilization of such indirectness, and (3) whether such manifestations might negatively affect Western text interpretation. My survey of forty commentaries written in English and in the native language from eight Vietnamese newspapers, four targeting senior audience and four aiming at junior readers, indicated that (1) the general textual advancements were quasi-deductive and quasi-inductive, (2) texts in the second language seemed to be developed in an approach closer to the deductive method (i.e.; quasi-deductive), (3) the theme-delay progression appeared to be the general writing tendency in both the native- and foreign-language texts, (4) implicit inter-propositional connections might be problematic for Western readers, (5) the L2 inappropriate employment of indirectness devices might involve a lack of instruction in style and tone, and (6) more influences of language than audience on the usage of indirectness in all the three aspects. The findings also suggested explicit and specific instruction to address non-Western writing features in second-language composition. Further in-depth investigation is needed to confirm these findings and to explore rhetorical practices by Vietnamese, an area scarcely traversed by rhetoricians.