This study uses a functional model of language to examine the 2005 Japanese HSC examination persuasive essays to investigate the language features of the exposition genre, which students produce during the examination. The exam scripts are compared to the essays which were written by Japanese native speaking (JNS) high school students answering the same question. This study seeks to answer two questions: “How successful Japanese persuasive essays are constructed in the HSC Japanese Examination?”, and “To what extent a successful HSC exam model matches the native speaker equivalent?”. The methodology used in this study is Generic Structure Potential (GSP) (Hasan, 1996), which will identify the elements of structure and the language features within each element. GSP will be applied to both the Japanese as a Foreign Language (JFL) and Japanese Native Speakers (JNS) students’ texts to ascertain the extent to which they share commonality in terms of elements of structure. Based on the analysis, all of the JFL students employed a deductive structure while some of the JNS students used an inductive structure, however, the majority of the JNS students also employed a deductive structure in their essays. This suggests that to answer the essay question in the exam situation, to use of a deductive structure in their persuasive essays is acceptable for both JFL and JNS writers.
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