Wednesday, 17 February 2010

What is Anecdote?

An anecdote is a type of spoken or written text that deals with past incidents. The function is to retell an account or story of unusual or amusing incident. The incident happened in the past. The purposes are sharing with others an usual or amusing incident and entertaining others. The generic structure of anecdote text usually has five components and one is optional: (1) Abstract, (2) Orientation, (3) Crisis, (4) Reaction and (5) Coda (optional)

A. Generic Structure of Anecdote

1. Abstract : Signals the RETELLING of an unusual or amusing incident
2. Orientation : Sets the scene
3. Crisis : Provides details of the unusual incident.
4. Reaction : Reaction to the crisis
5. Coda (optional) : Reflection on or evaluation of the incident

B. Generic Features

1. It uses exclamation, rhetorical question and intensifiers (e.g. really, very, quite etc). They are used to point up the significance of the events.
2. It usually uses Simple Past Tense.
3. Past continuous tense is sometimes used
4. Use of temporal sequencers to show the sequence of story. They are:
Before …
After …
When …
While …
… until …
During …
As …
At that time …
At that moment …
After that …
After then …
Firstly …
Secondly …
Finally …

Now read an example of anecdote below!

Guess what happened when there was fisherman who threw a big fish back into the water and keep only that small one? It is unusual incident, isn’t?

One morning, a man was crossing a narrow bridge. When he saw a fisherman under him on the shady bank of the deep smooth river he stopped to watch him quietly.

He saw that the fisherman took it off the hook and caught a big fish. But he threw it back to water. Then he put his hook and line in again. After a minute he caught rather big fish. Again, he threw it back into the river. Then the third time, he caught a small fish. He put it into his basket and started to get ready to go. The man on the bridge was very surprised, so he spoke to the fisherman. He asked why did he threw those beautiful big fishes back into the water and just kept only the small one.

The fisherman looked up and answered, “I only have a frying pan”

Oh poor fisherman!

To get better comprehension about anecdote text, here is the summary:

1. Social Function : to share with others an account of unusual, uncommon or amusing incident.

2. The text organization or generic structure of anecdote is

a. ABSTRACT : signals the retelling of unusual, uncommon or amusing incident
b. ORIENTATION : introduction or sets the scene
c. CRISIS : provides details of unusual, uncommon or amusing incident
d. INCIDENT : reaction to the CRISIS
e. CODA : (OPTIONAL), a reflection or an evaluation of unusual, uncommon or amusing incident

3. The language features of anecdote text are:
a. using exclamation (e.g great!, what a bad day!, a very strange incident! etc)
b. using of rhetorical questions (e.g what do you like to do when you make wrong thing? , oh no, it is a stupid thing, isn’t?)
c. using intensifiers (e.g very, so + adjective , much etc)
d. using material processes (e.g protected, employed, spoke etc)
e. using temporal conjunctions (e.g then, afterwards, ever since, while, before, after etc).

Exclamations, rhetorical questions and intensifiers are used to point up the significant of the events or incidents. And Material processes and temporal conjunctions are used to tell what is going on or happened.

Material processes are verbs that show us what happened and what someone do or what is done.

Temporal conjunctions are conjunctions that show the time sequence of events.

Cahyono, Kristiawan Dwi and Eka Purnama.2006. Communicative Competence 2B: A course in Acquiring English Communicative Competence, For Senior High School Level, Grade XI Semester 2. Jombang: CV Karunia Agung

Sudarwati and Eudia Grace.2007. Look Ahead: An English Course for Senior High School Students Year XI, Science and Social Study Program. Jakarta: Erlangga

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