An Overview of Descriptive Text

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Regarding to teaching writing at Junior High School levels, there are several text types that have to be taught to the students namely procedure, descriptive, recount, narrative, and report (BNSP, 2006: 124).  According to Zemach and Rumisek (2005: 25) a descriptive text explains how someone or something looks or feel. Martin (1989) in Mali-Jali (2007: 81) states that a descriptive writing describes characteristics of a particular individual, thing or place. In line with that statement, Knapp and Watkins (2005), Derewianka (2003), and Mun, et al (2008) define a descriptive text as a kind of text which purpose is to describe a particular person, place, or thing in detail. In addition, Hyland (2003: 20) argues that the purpose of descriptive text is to give an account of imagined or factual events and phenomena.

A genre is recognised because it has a characteristic set of stages through which its goals are achieved (Christie, 2005: 148). The characteristics are called generic structures and language features.  According to Gerot and Wignall (1995) as cited by Kurnia (2009: 26) and Mun, et al. (2008) the generic structures of descriptive text mainly consist of two parts namely identification and description. Identification introduces phenomenon of thing that is going to be described or introduces where or who the subject being described is. Description, on the other hand, is the supporting part of the paragraph which describe in detail or assists the readers to see or feel the subject for example, the qualities, appearances, uses, habits, etc.

Furthermore, a descriptive text also has its own language features. According to Mun, et al. (2008) and Knapp and Watkins (2005: 98 – 99) language features related to descriptive text are, adjectives and compound adjective, pronouns, linking verbs, verbs and verb phrases, simple present tense, preposition, nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, adverbs, and compound and complex sentences.

This following text is an example of descriptive text adapted from Mun, et al. (2008):

I have a best friend. His name is Timothy. Identification
He is from Australia. He is 18 years old. He has curly hair, thick lip, and brown eyes. He is currently studying Engineering at the University of Australia in Perth. He loves to wear body-hugging t-shirts, tight-fitting jeans, and trendy shoes. Sometimes he can be rather forgetful. However, he is a caring person and always helps the poor. Description

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