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Language for Specific Purposes

Dr. Cecilia Cheong Yin Mei

Room: TD13, 2nd Floor

Bakawali Building
Faculty of Languages and Linguistics
Tel. no.: 03-7967 3139
Multimedia Planning Unit
Anggerik Building
Faculty of Languages and Linguistics

(Weeks 9, 11 - 14)


Week 9
G1: 11 Nov
G2: 31 Nov

Approaches/ Practices in LSP

Application of Approaches to LSP

Week 11
G1: 25 Nov
G2: 27 Nov

The Practice of LSP in the Academic and Research Domain

Week 12
G1: 2 Dec
G2: 4 Dec

The Practice of LSP in the Professional Domain

Week 13
G1: 9 Dec
G2: 11 Dec

New Media genres & Multimodality

Seminar: Reflective paper (based on Weeks 8-10 work)

Week 14
G1: 16 Dec
G2: 18 Dec

Seminar: Reflective paper (based on Weeks 8-10 work)


31 Dec 2014
@ 3 5 p.m.

Final Examination

Approaches/ Practices in LSP

Earliest work, 1960s, quantitative study of the formal features of
broad language varieties or registers (e.g. Barber, 1962; Halliday,
McIntosh & Strevens, 1964)

Rhetorical approach to the description of scientific and

technological text; rhetorical purpose: defining, classifying,
contrasting, sequencing, identifying cause and effect, etc (e.g.
Trimble, 1985)

Dynamic situational-functional facets of communicative practices

Focus on specific genres and communicative purposes, not just

formal features (Swales, 1990)

What is Genre?
The term genre comes from the Latin genus,

A fundamental concept in philosopher Aristotles system of

classification of entities having some common characteristics:
a particular class or category or type or kind or style of a
communicative practice, which is described, classified and recognized
to belong to its group in accordance to some characteristic and
distinctive features of its form, content or employed technique

Application of Approaches to LSP

(Discourse Analysis)
Genre Analysis

1) The American New Rhetoric School - more contextually than

linguistically grounded; stressed the flexible and dynamic nature
of generic structure potential

2) Hallidayan linguistics / SFL in Australia- focused on primary

and secondary school genres rather than those of the university

Genre Analysis
3) The British and now internationally practised ESP
Deeper and narrower approach with models for genre analysis
(e.g. Swales 1990, Bhatia 1993.)

Swales - academic discourse; Bhatia - business, academic and

legal genres
Predictable formulaic aspects of certain genres (move structure
and typical patterns of linguistic realisation)
Models of generic structure used as a basis for the development
of pedagogic materials (e.g. Swales & Feak, 1994)

Other discourse analysis

- contrastive rhetoric, corpus linguistics and ethnographically influenced

4) Contrastive rhetoric - study of similarities and differences between
two languages and how the influence of the L1 may affect the way
individuals express themselves in the L2 (e.g. Kaplan 1966, Connor,

5) Corpus linguistics - collection, structuring and analysis of large

amounts of discourse usually with the assistance of computers (e.g.
Sinclair & Cobuilt project, 1991; Bibers register analysis, 1988)

6) Ethnography - views text as one feature of the social situation

which includes the values, roles, assumptions, attitudes and
patterns of behaviour of participants or text producers and receivers;
emphasises direct observation, interview and other modes of
analysing the situational context in addition to textual analysis

LSP & Genre Theory

Attempt to describe and explain regularities of purpose, form and situated social
Why Genre Theory & Analysis?
Pedagogic potentials of genre analysis

Genre Analysis is known for its various pedagogic implications. Genre is a

very powerful pedagogic tool because it defines the kinds of discourse the
students need to be able to produce, and alsoconsidering its social context
and purposeit can explain why a discourse is the way it is (Kay and DudleyEvans, 1998 : 310).

The best-realized link between discourse analysis and contemporary L2

pedagogy (Poole, 2002: 76):
o it aids writing instructors via yielding analyses of different
academic/professional texts, and also
o helps them provide appropriate discourse awareness for their students.

Abstract, socially recognised ways of using language.
Miller (1984) defines genre as typified rhetorical actions that respond
to recurring situations and become instantiated in the communities
A similar group of texts depend on the social context of their creation
and use.
Relates a text to other texts like it, and to the choices and constraints.
Recurrent use of conventionalised forms.

Swales definition of genre:

A genre comprises a class of communicative events, the members
of which share some set of communicative purposes. These
purposes are recognized by the expert members of the parent
discourse community, and thereby constitute the rationale for the
genre. This rationale shapes the schematic structure of the
discourse and influences and constrains choices of content and
style. Communicative purpose is both a privileged criterion and
one that operates to keep the scope of a genre here and conceived
narrowly focused on comparable rhetorical action. In addition to
purpose, exemplars of a genre exhibit various patterns of similarity
in terms of structure, style, content and intended audience. If all
high probability expectations are realized, the exemplar will be
viewed as prototypical by the parent discourse community.

Swales (1990: 58)

Explanation on Swaless (1993) definition:

Genre is seen as a class of communicative events that are characterized both
by their communicative purposes and by various patterns of structure,
style, content, and intended audience (Swales, 1990).
These shared communicative purposes and structures are recognized by the
expert members in the area/discpline, and are responsible for shaping a
genre and providing it with an internal structure a schematic structure.

The rational that shapes the schematic structure of the discourse also gives
rise to constraining conventions .
(Swales, 1990, p. 53)

Bhatia (1993) concurs with Swales in that the most important aspect of
genre is the recognisability and sufficient standardization, which is
based on a set of mutually accessible conventions which most
members of the professional or institutional organisation share, in that
the members of the discourse or professional community may recognise
the genre as a typical and valid example of the particular genre.

Bhatia offers his definition of genre as:

... a recognizable communicative event characterized by a set of
communicative purpose(s) identified and mutually understood by the
members of the professional or academic community in which it
regularly occurs. Most often it is highly structured and conventionalized
with constraints on allowable contributions in terms of their intent,
positioning, form and functional value. These constraints, however, are
often exploited by the expert members of the discourse community to
achieve private intentions within the framework of socially recognized
Bhatia (1993: 13)

Explanation on Bhatias (1993) definition:

Even though genre is a recognizable communicative event , it is primarily the
communicative purpose(s) that it is intended to fulfil. The communicative
purpose(s) is the factor that shapes the genre and gives it an internal
Specialist members of any professional and academic community can
recognized the genre of its discourse community.
The writer has the freedom to use linguistic resources in any way s/he likes to
achieve its communicative purpose(s) but must conform to certain standard
practices within the boundaries of a particular genre without being noticeably
Members of the professional or academic community have greater knowledge
of the conventional purpose(s), construction and use of specific genres than
the non-specialists.

The texts that belong to one genre share a set of communicative purposes.
The recognition of the structure is important in understanding the genre as
the rational that shapes the structure gives rise to constraining conventions.
For example, the purpose of a research paper differs from that of a
newspaper article.
Thus, the different communicative purpose places constraints on the formal
features of the text, the discourse structure, and the lexical and grammatical
The above definition by Swales (1990) emphasises the purposive nature of
genres and concerns the way genres look. The communicative purposes
constitute the rationale for the genre, which means that the purpose of a
genre constructs a particular text structure, and a host of conventionalised
verbal and visual rhetorical strategies.

The diagram below conceptualises the interdependency of the three

constituents of Swales genre model, which capture the essence of what is
called genres.

Communicative purpose

realised by
Move Structure

realised by

Rhetorical strategies

Swales three-level genre model

Discourse Community
Within a community, language plays an important role in discourse practices.
In Swales genre analysis, the importance of the discourse communities is

According to Swales, discourse communities are socio-rhetorical networks

that form in order to work towards sets of common goals.
One of the characteristics that established members of these discourse
communities possess is familiarity with the particular genres that is used in
the communicative furtherance of those sets of goals (Swales, 1990).

Swales (1990) has identified six characteristics of a discourse community as

A discourse community:

1. has a broadly agreed set of common public goals.

2. has mechanisms of inter-communication among its members.
3. uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and
4. utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative
furtherance of its aims.
5. has acquired some specific lexis.
6. has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant
content and discoursal expertise.

Genre set
A set of genres interacting to accomplish communicative purposes.

An example Academic/Research Domain

Samraj (2005: 141) researched on genre sets in academic communities. She
categorized research articles introduction and abstracts as a genre set.

An example Professional Domain

Within professional communication, Devitt (1991, p. 340) has investigated the
accountants genre system, a set of genres interacting to accomplish the work of
the tax department and shown that any text is best understood within the
context of other texts (1991, p. 336).

Concept - Genre set as a system of interrelated genres

Bazerman (1994) has extended Devitts concept of genre set into the notion of
systems of genres. He has explored the system for patent creation and has stated
that studying a genre system entails analyzing interrelated genres produced
through generic turns by multiple participants belonging to that system

Function Analyzing genre sets for characterizing disciplinary and

interdisciplinary genres
Miller (1994) has stated that we can characterize a culture by its genre set.
Thus, we might claim that the comprehensive characterization of a
disciplinary culture will need to include a discussion of its genre set.

Disciplinary norms in academic writing may be manifested not just in terms

of the genres important to that discipline and variation in generic structure but
also in the relationships among related genres.

In other words, to understand academic writing across disciplines, we need to

not just consider how a particular genre varies across disciplines but we also
need to investigate how two or more genres are related to each other in
different disciplines.

A Genre within another Genre

Bhatia (1993) - two genres fulfill different communicative purposes and
hence possess different macro-organizations.

Samraj (2005: 142) noted that though the research article introduction is strictly
a part of the research article and hence a part-genre (Dudley-Evans, 1997), it has
also been shown to have a well-defined purpose and overall organization
(Swales, 1990).

Bhatia (1997) refers to all academic introductions, including research article

introductions, as genres.
In addition, the two genres, research article introductions and abstracts, appear
to be related, though the nature of the relationship is not completely clear. Both
genres are related to the research article: one genre is central to the research
article itself, and the other has been said to be an article synopsis (Bhatia, 1993).
Bhatia has stated that these two genres fulfill different communicative
purposes and hence possess different macro-organizations.

Systems of Genres
Bazerman (1994:97) - all the interrelated genres that interact with each other
in specific settings.

Bazerman (1994:97) proposed the concept of systems of genres, which refer to all
the interrelated genres that interact with each other in specific settings. He
described the systems of genre:
...would be the full interaction, the full event, the set of social relationships as it
has been enacted. It embodies the full history of speech events as intertextual
occurrences, but attending to the way that all the intertext is instantiated in
generic form exablishing the current act in relation to prior acts.

Bhatia (2004:55) stated that the notion of systems of genres is more

comprehensive than the notion of genre sets, and is a very useful tool for
investigating intertextually and interdiscursively related genres embedded within
a specific professional activity.

Genre Chain
Fairclough (2003) defines genre chains as different genres which are
regularly linked together, involving systematic transformations from genre
to genre, such as official documents, associated press releases or press
conferences, reports in the press or on television, etc.

Swales (2004:18-20) illustrated a genre chain:

Call for Abstract Conference Abstract Review Process (Accept/Reject)
Instructions ... Oral Presentation Conference proceedings/Selected
papers for publication

Disciplinary Genre
Bhatia (2004:54-55) proposed that it is often necessary and more useful to go
beyond a system of genres to consider a more general category of genres. He
suggested the study of well-defined and closely linked group of genres in a
particular professional and disciplinary domain, rather than just a particular
professional activity on its own.

E.g. In the case/discipline of Law, there are professional legal activities such as
lawyer-client consultation, drafting of wills, drawing contracts, conveyance of
property, etc. Law centrally depends on two of the most conventionally
standardized disciplinary genres legislation and judgments to achieve its
disciplinary goals. This centrality signals the intertextual and interdiscursive
patterning displayed in all forms of legal discourse.
E.g. In the discipline of Education?
In the discipline of Medicine/Health?
In the discipline of Advertising?

Genre Networks
Tadorov (1990:15) remarked:
Where do genres come from? Quite simply, from other genres. A new genre is
always the transformation of an earlier one, or of several: by inversion, by
displacement, by combination.

Geertz (1983: 20-21) perception of the development:

... we more and more see ourselves surrounded by a vast, almost continuous
field of variously intended and diversely constructed works we can order only
practically, relationally, and as our purposes prompt us.

Genre Colony and Supergenre

Bhatia (2004:57-59) noted that most super genres can be regarded as colonies
of related genres, with members not necessarily respecting disciplinary or
domain boundaries. In the case of business, there are advertisements, sales
promotion letters, news reports, business reports, book reviews, book blurbs,

Genre colony brings a degree of versatility to genre identification and

description. It allows principled relationship between supergenres, genres and
sub-genres. It also makes it possible to relate these categories to features of

Generic Description

Rhetorical Act


Communicative Purpose
Communicative Purpose






Generic value

Promotional Genres

Book Blubs

TV Ads

Car Ads


Genre Colony

Job Applications


Print Ads

Internet Ads


Airline Ads

Cosmetic Ads


for business travellers


for holiday travellers

Versatility in Generic Description

(Adapted from: Bhatia, 2004)

Genre Mixing and Hybrid Genres

The relationship between texts and genres is a potentially complex one. A text
may not be in a single genre, as it may mix or hybridize different genres
(Bhatia, 2004; Fairclough, 2003). Genre mixing is an aspect of the
interdiscursivity of texts. A number of social researchers and theorists have
drawn attention to ways in which social boundaries are blurred in
contemporary social life, and to the forms of hybridity or mixing of social
practices (Fairclough, 2003).

Bhatia (2004: 90) and Fairclough (1992: 207) identified hybrid genres.
They are:
genres which are the result of the blurring of boundaries between
discourses, and which appear to be especially prominent in the domain of
contemporary media.
(Fairclough, 2003: 35)

Schools of genre theory

(1) The New Rhetoric approach - more contextually oriented

(2) Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) approach

more linguistic in approach
(3) The English for Specific Purposes (ESP) approach
Differ in:
the emphasis they give to text or context
the research methods they employ
the types of pedagogies they encourage

(1) The New Rhetoric approach

This approach, adopted particularly in North America, is influenced by poststructuralism, rhetoric and first language composition
It studies genre as the motivated, functional relationship between text type
and rhetorical situation (Coe, 2002: p. 195).
The focus here is mainly on the rhetorical contexts in which genres are
employed rather than detailed analyses of text elements (e.g. Freedman &
Medway, 1994).

Focuses more on situational context, and emphasises on the social purposes

and the actions resulting from these purposes within specific situations.
The emphasis on the socially constructed nature of genre has helped to
unpack some of the complex relations between text and context, and the
ways that one reshapes the other.
As the focus is in the action (rather than substance or form) that the genre is
used to accomplish, the methodology is ethnographic the activities,
attitudes, beliefs , values and patterns of behaviour (culture) of the discourse
community engaging in the genre(s)

The New Rhetoric approach emphasizes the flexible and dynamic nature of
genres and the link between rhetorical forms and social needs.
Studies in this approach tend to explore how genres evolve in different
sociocultural settings to achieve particular purposes, making them dynamic in
The New Rhetoric approach to the study of research articles helps us to see the
changes that have taken place in text production over a long period of time,
linking these changes to the changing social needs and that texts are dynamic
and not static products.
The studies in this approach indicate that genres are shaped by social factors and
that texts occur in social contexts and employed by specific communities to
achieve recognized goals.






Traced the evolution of the scientific articles, highlighting that the

rhetorical forms have arisen from social needs; how production of
texts evolved in order to negotiate scientific knowledge at differing
times and places;
The changing nature of scientific articles is necessary to cater to
changing social needs.



Observed changes in the length, referencing and argument in

research articles in physics which are a reflection of increasing
knowledge, competition amongst other researchers and readers


Berkenkotter & In their analysis of biology research articles since 1944 argued that
the increasing promotion of results was brought about to
accommodate the increasingly selective reading by researchers who
are usually such busy people inundated with an expansion of
information in the sciences.



In his analysis of research writing from the seventeenth century

found that papers became less affective and more focused, more
informational rather than narrative-like over a period of time.

(2) The Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) approach

Known in the US as the Sydney School approach (e.g. Hyon, 1996 and
Johns, 2002) , because it was developed at the University of Sydney based
on Hallidays (1994) Systemic Functional Linguistics, a model that
identifies the close correlations between form and function.
This model of genre stresses the purposeful, interactive, and sequential
character of different genres, and the ways language is systematically
linked to context through patterns of lexico-grammatical and rhetorical
features (Christie & Martin, 1997).
It is interested in both the context in which genres are produced as well
as in the linguistic features of the genres themselves.
Motivated by a commitment to language and literacy education; links
language to its context of use, studying how language varies from one
context to another and the underlying patterns which organise texts so
that they are culturally and socially recognised as performing particular
functions. Genre theory here suggests that texts occur not in isolation
but in social contexts and they are goal oriented and culturally
determined (Martin, 1984 in Eggins, 1994).

Certain cultures in a discourse community may have certain restrictions

regarding language use by its members in the community requiring a
particular structure for its communicative purpose to be achieved.
Discourse is analysed for its structural characteristics, its crucial semantic
attributes of the structural elements and its lexico-grammatical patterns (Hasan,
1984; Halliday, 1985, 1994). In examining the generic structures, the values of the
field, tenor and mode (the components of its contextual configuration)
determine the range of textual structures available within a genre. Thus,
different social situations will produce different genres because each social
situation has its own configuration of values.

E.g. A first year university lecture in Biology combines choices from that
particular field (topic) with the ways in which lectures are conducted and
the lecture activates the choices brought about by the (tenor)
relationship between the lecturer and the audience, in this case first year
students. The lecture can be identified by the mode (form/style/manner)
of discourse which usually would be semi-spontaneous speech (Lewin et at.,
2001, p. 8).

Systemic functional linguists show how lexico-grammatical choices are

determined by topic and writer-reader relationships (Halliday and Martin, 1993).





Halliday &Hasan Classified texts according to genre. The Generic Structure Potential
specifies the obligatory and typical optional elements of the genre
and the ordering.



Provides a generic systems network which captures the features of

a genre based on the similarities and differences between text
structures which thereby define text types.



System of genre realization which allows for texts which have

missing obligatory elements to be recognized as being within a



Views language as a resource for making meaning and proposes

that the language system has evolved to express three kinds of
meanings: experiential meaning (how language is used to represent
our understanding of the world around us), the interpersonal
meaning (how language is used to create relationships with others),
and the textual meaning (how textual resources are necessary to
create cohesive and coherent texts).



Examined research articles within the context of genre analysis

using the framework of transitivity in Systemic Functional
Linguistics. This approach suggests that each stage of a genre
exhibits certain predictable lexico-grammatical choices. The
distribution of material, mental, verbal, relational and existential
processes in the different sections of the research article shows a
relationship between the characteristic process types and the
functions of the sections.

(3) The English for Specific Purposes (ESP) approach

Developed by practitioners working in the field of ESP in the 1980s - i.e.
John Swales, Vijay Bhatia. The motivation for GA was the goal of
developing pedagogic materials for non-native speakers of English.
Influence L2 writing instruction, grounding teaching in a solid research
base and drawing strength from an eclectic set of pedagogies and
linguistic theories; to provide students with a knowledge of relevant
genres so that they can work effectively in their target contexts.
This approach is more linguistic in orientation and sees genre as a class of
structured communicative events employed by specific discourse
communities whose members share broad social purposes (Swales, 1990:
pp. 4547).
These social purposes are the rationale of a genre and help to shape the
ways it is structured and the choices of content and style it makes
available (Johns, 1997).

The most influential ESP genre-analysis framework was established by

Swales (1981, 1990) and has set the standard for a formalistic approach to
genre analysis of academic, professional and scientific discourse studies.

In the ESP approach, textual patterns or organisation in a genre is analysed

by breaking the text up into moves. Swales moves analysis not only looks at
the structure but also studies the lexico-grammatical features of moves.
The ESP approach focuses on the structure and typical linguistic realizations
of certain genres.

Genre Analysis Studies based on Swales Framework



Aspects of Article Introductions
Towards a Validated Analysis of Scientific Text Structure





Genre Analysis: An Investigation of the Introduction and

Discussion Sections of MSc Dissertation
A Genre-Based Investigation of the Discussion Sections in
Articles and Dissertations
Genre Analysis: English in Academic and research Settings














Feak, Reinhart


A Genre-Based Approach to ESP Materials

Structure of Science Popularizations: A Genre-Analysis
Approach to the Schema of Popularized Medical Texts
Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings
A Genre Analysis of the Results Section of Sociology
Genre Analysis, and the Social Sciences: An Investigation of
the Structure of Research Article Discussion Sections in
Three Disciplines
The Medical Research Paper: Structure and Functions
Results Sections of Medical Research Articles: Analysis of
Rhetorical Categories for Pedagogical Purposes
The Schematic Structure of Computer Science Research
A Preliminary Analysis of Law Review Notes
Generic Moves in Ph.D Thesis Introductions

Comparison of the
ESP Analysis
3 genre schools
ESP scholarship
interested in L2

Australian Genre


Non-Native Speakers
of English, EAP,
English for
Communication for
adult L2 learners
Genre as
events characterized
by their communicative
purposes and by
various patterns of
structure, style,
content and intended
audience (Swales,
1990, p. 58)

Primary; secondary,
adult education for
minorities, migrant
workers and other
mainstream groups
Genre as Stagedgoal-oriented social
(Martin, Christie and
Rothery, 1987)

Genre as social
action with social
purposes (Miller,

Structural move
analyses to describe
global organizational

Analysis of linguistic
features within
Hallidayan schemes
of linguistic analysis

Text analysis based

on ethnographic

Genre Theory

Text Analysis

New Rhetoric
North American
interested in L1
Native Speakers of
English in

Historical development of written discourse analysis (1)






Statistical significance of

Passives in EST: Nominalizations in

legal English; Noun-verb
combinations in legal texts

Halliday et al.
(1964); Barber
(1962); Crystal
and Davy (1969);
Spencer (1975)

Textualisation of
distinctive lexicogrammatical resources

Tenses in the rhetoric of science; Enparticiples in chemistry texts; Tenses

in reporting past literature; Nominals
in academic writing

Swales (1974);
Oster (1981);
Dubois (1982);
Trimble (1985)

From textualization to text

and discourse

Relationship between semantics and

pragmatics of text; Coherence in text
interpretation; Intertextuality

Van Dijk (1977);

de Beaugrande
and Dressler
(1981); Brown
and Yule (1983)

Historical development of written discourse analysis (2)






Textual patterns leading to

text types, highlighting
rhetorial patterns

Rhetorical structures; Rhetoricalgrammatical structures in science

texts; Predictive structures in
economics textbooks

(1973); Selinker
et al. (1973);
Tadros (1985);
Candlin et al.

General global patterns of

discourse organization

Rhetorical patterns; Problem-solution Coulthard

patterns; Schematic structures;
(1977); Hoey
(1983); van Dijk

Cognitive structures and

rationale in genres

Move structures in genres;

Qualificational patterns; Generic
structure potential

Swales (1981a,
1990); Bhatia
(1982, 1993);
Hasan (1985)

In its initial phase, genre theory was used for the description of variations in
the use of language for specific purpose texts as a basis for designing language
learning and teaching programmes (Bhatia 1991; Kathpalia 1992; Swales 1990).
As such the main emphasis during this phase was on the analysis of linguistic
form with some attention given to context, although the basis of genre theory
has always been the relationship between text and context both in a narrow
sense of what surrounds the text as well as in a broader sense of what makes a
particular genre possible and how it is used in specialized contexts.
The earlier phase was also restricted in another sense, in that the focus of
much of genre analysis was on a limited range of specialized genres, specifically
those embedded in scientific, technological, business, legal and research
contexts (Bhatia 1982, 1993; Swales 1981, 1990; Trimble 1985), as these were
seen as crucial for the development of LSP programmes.

Historical development of written discourse analysis (3)





Socio-cognitive aspects of
genres; development and
exploitation of generic

Genre development and change;

Genre mixing, embedding;
Appropriation of generic resources;
Systems of genres

Berkenkotter and
Huckin (1995);
(1994); Bhatia
(1997a, 1998a)

Multidimensional, and
multi-perspective analyses
of professsional and
institutional genres

Why do professional use language

the way they do?; Disciplinary
variation and conflicts in genres

Swales (1998);
Bhatia (1999c,
2000); Hyland
(2000); Candlin
and Hyland

Language as critical
discourse; Language as
social control; Language in
and as social interaction

Discourse, change and hegemony;

Social control in institutionalized
discourses; Language and ideology;
Language as mediated discourse

Fairclough (1992,
Sarangi and
(1994); Scollon

In more recent years, however, genre theory has taken a more serious look
at context in a much broader sense, paying particular attention to more
comprehensive understanding of text/context interactions focussing not
simply on form and context of LSP genres, but more importantly on how
these specialized genres are constructed, interpreted, used and exploited in
the achievement of specific goals in highly specialized academic, professional
and institutional as well as other workplace contexts.

Genre analysis has become firmly established as one of the most popular
frameworks for the study of specialized genres in academic, professional
and institutional as well as other workplace contexts.

Genre Movement, Changes and Focus

These relatively recent concerns have also developed genre theory in the
direction of a more comprehensive and powerful multidimensional and multiperspectived framework to handle not only the text but also the context in a
much more meaningful manner than had ever been done earlier (Bhatia 2004;
Smart 1998; Swales 1998).
With the availability of a diverse range of methodological tools for the analysis of
specialized genres, (some of which include ethnographic, corpus-based, sociocognitive, and socio-critical discourse analytical approaches), to supplement the
analyses of lexico-grammar, rhetorical and generic structures.

There has also been a corresponding expansion of the range of specialized

genres targeted for analysis. There is an increasing interest in looking beyond
the conventional LSP genres to explore a much wider range of professional,
corporate and institutional as well as workplace genres (Bargiela-Chiappini &
Nickerson, 1999; Gillaerts & Gotti, 2005) realized not only through the
conventional spoken and written modes, but also through a variety of nontraditional semiotic modes, including the visual and the Internet.

Swales (2007:9-10) noted:

Sunny Hyons paper was a valuable map-making exercise that made much
sense in the mid 1990s. ...what might be called the genre movement has
coalesced somewhat so that the divisions among the traditions have become
much less sharpalthough by no means disappeared. This rapprochement
can be seen in a number of recent books. Even a cursory reading of the
following quartet shows trends toward assimilation of views and a shared
appreciation of previous work...

ESP tradition: Vijay Bhatia (2004) Worlds of written discourse: A genre-based view
NR tradition: Amy Devitt (2004) Writing Genres
SFL tradition: John Frow (2006) Genre
ESP tradition: John Swales (2004) Research Genres: Explorations and applications

One short quotation from each to indicate something of this coming together of views:
Bhatia (2004: 20):
Discourse as genre, in contrast, extends the analysis beyond the textual product to
incorporate context in a broader sense to account for not only the way the text is constructed,
but also the way it is often interpreted, used and exploited in specific institutional or more
narrowly professional contexts to achieve specific disciplinary roles.
Devitt (2004: 31):
I propose, then, that genre be seen not as a response to recurring situation but as a nexus
between an individuals actions and a socially defined context. Genre is a reciprocal dynamic
within which individuals actions construct and are constructed by recurring context of
situation, context of culture, and context of genres.

Frow (2006: 3):

And I try to stress that genres are not fixed and pre-given forms by thinking about texts as
performances of genre rather than reproductions of a class to which texts belong, and by
following Derrida in stressing the importance of edges and marginsthat is, stressing the
open-endedness of generic frames.
Swales (2004: 31, in Bazerman 2007:148):
However, there is a needat least at timesto see genres as networks of variously
distributed strategic resources.

Some of the consolidating trends that seem to emerge from these volumes and
from other publications would include:
a) a balance between constraint and choice;

b) the role of local contextual coloring in the realization of genre exemplars;

c) a greater sense that genres and genre sets are always evolving in response to
various exigencies (difficult/urgent situations); and

d) a consequent more nuanced (hardly noticeable difference in) approach to

genre awareness-raising and genre acquisition.

This coming together of views shows that:

The description and explanation of genre is more comprehensive now
compared to the definition by Swales in 1990. Therefore, a more
comprehensive genre analysis is required to analyze texts/genres
comprehensively, especially when analyzing new, unfamiliar, mixed and
deceptive genres.
GA is moving away from textualization to contextualisation.
Genre Analyst
Frames of Social Action (Using templates to analyze familiar genres)
Language Standards (Identifying genres which comply or deviate)
Genre Analyst and Applied Genre Analyst
Biological Species (Tracking down unfamiliar genres and linking them)
Families and Prototypes (Identifying new genres colony/constellation)
Applied Genre Analyst
Institution (How/Why the genre is developed? Ethnography, Socio-critical and Sociocognitive perspective)
Speech Acts (Linking Genre-Discourse analysis, discursive practices)

What is the current and workable definition of genre?

Swales offered one such elaborated definition in Genre Analysis back in

1990. When he came to revisit the topic a few years ago, he decided that he
couldnt repeat himself but, true to the grand academic imperative, would
have to offer something new. Even though, he confessed, in his heart of
hearts, he felt that there was actually little wrong with that old earlier
characterization. His rationale for retreat was a little forced, or so it now
seems to him.

As I see it, the work of genre is to mediate between social situations and the
texts that respond strategically to the exigencies of those situations. As Frow
notes, when texts are well conceptualized and well constructed, they
perform the genre. When these performances proliferate, genres tend to
drift through time and geographical space, partly inherently and partly as a
result of intertextual acceptances and rejections.
(Swales, 2007: 9 10)

Swales (2007) identified two categories of genre analysts:

1. The work of genre analysts is to track these textual regularities and
irregularities and explain them in terms of the relevant and pertinent social
circumstances and the rhetorical demands they engender.
2. The work of those genre analysts with applied aspirations would then
refashion these findings so that, by comparison and contrast, by episodic
dissection, by rhetorical consciousness-raising, and by task designs such as
the systemic-functionalists wheel of genre, they can become more
transparent to those who would wish or need to become better consumers
or producers of textual exemplars in the targeted genre or genres.

Example 1:
To analyze Introduction in a Journal Article (Research Genre), a genre
analyst can use Swaless (1990) three level model genre analysis.
To explain the 2nd level (Rhetorical Structure), a genre analyst can
adopt Swaless (1990) CARS model or Swaless (2004) revised CARS
Usually, a genre analyst will analyze linguistic features to explain the
3rd level (Rhetorical Strategies).

Example 2:
To analyze a Sales Letter (Professional and Promotional Genre), a genre
analyst can use Swaless (1990) three level model genre analysis.
To explain the 2nd level (Rhetorical Structure), a genre analyst can use
Bhatias (1993) 7-move structural description for sales letter.
Since the genre is richer compared to Introduction in a Journal Article, a
text analyst with applied aspiration may analyze beyond linguistic
features to explain the 3rd level (Rhetorical Strategies) such as
metadiscourse, disciplinary discourses (e.g. advertising/promotional

Example 3:

To analyze a Webpage (Professional and New/Promotional/Mixed Genre),

a genre analyst can use Swaless (1990) three level model genre analysis.
To explain the 2nd level (Rhetorical Structure), one can use Bhatias (2004)
9-move structural description for advertisements.
To explain the 3rd level (Rhetorical Strategies), a genre analyst may limit
his explanation to the text in the webpage.
However, a text analyst with applied aspirations may include **analysis of
multimodal discourse analysis, navigational modes, intertextuality and
interdiscursivity to explain the 3rd level (Rhetorical Strategies). He may
also adopt ***a more comprehensive 7 step models/frameworks such as
Bhatia (1993, 2004).

Example 4:
To analyze an advertorial (Professional and Mixed/Unfamiliar Genre), a
genre analyst can use Swaless (1990) three level model genre analysis.
To explain the 2nd level (Rhetorical Structure), a genre analyst can use
Bhatias (1993) 9-move structure for advertisements.
To explain the 3rd level (Rhetorical Strategies), a genre analyst may limit his
explanation to the text in the advertorial.
However, a text analyst with applied aspirations will adopt ** and ***,
instead of Swaless (1990) three level model genre analysis which focuses
on the textual level.
** multimodal discourse analysis, navigational modes, intertextuality and
*** 7 step models/frameworks such as Bhatia (1993, 2004)

Example 5:
To analyze non-established, unfamilar and deceptive genres, the genre
analyst requires more applications in GA.

A text analyst with applied aspirations may need to use Bhatias (2004)
revised 7 step model genre analysis and Bhatias (2004) multidimensional
and multiperspective genre analysis.
The models address the textual perspective/dimension (linguistic/lexicogrammatical features, generic/rhetorical structures, intertextuality,
interdiscursivity) and social (ethnographic, socio-critical and social)

Metaphors of genre
Swales (2004: 61-68) offered a suite of six metaphors to illuminate the
understanding of genres:
Frames of Social Action
Language Standards
Biological Species
Families and Prototypes
Speech Acts

Guiding Principles
Conventional Expectations
Complex Historicities
Variable Links to the Center
Shaping Contexts; Roles
Directed Discourses

Frames of Social Action

Guiding Principles

Genres are not just forms. Genres are forms of life, ways of being. They are
frames of social actions. (Bazermam, 1997: 19)

Language Standards

Conventional Expectations

Language standards provide linguistic etiquette or rules. Similarly, genres

also have etiquette. Etiquettes for genres are not absolute but they are
conceived in terms of what is socially and rhetorically appropriate and thus
are subject to change over time. (Devitt, 1997).

Biological Species

Complex Historicities

It is a useful way of thinking about how genres evolve, spread, and decline. In
the analogy of genre, the periphery might be the places where some
technological advance first took root, the influence of some remarkable
individual, or the development of some splinter groups. The history of genres
and evolutionary understanding provides the perspectives of their texted pasts,
presents, and futures. (Swales, 2004: 63-65)

Families and Prototypes

Variable Links to the Center

An extension of Biological species metaphor. One family member can take on

many of the characteristics of another member as part of the process of generic
evolution. (Swales, 2004: 65-66)


Shaping Contexts; Roles

A genre is not just a visible and/or audible product but a complex institution
involving more or less networks and the values they support. The
institutional metaphor allows one to identify the genres primary and typical
roles. (Swales, 2004: 66-67)

Speech Acts

Directed Discourses

Fishlov (1993) noted the metaphor is only pertinent to those cases in which
the organizing principle of the text can be described in terms of a distinct
communicative situation. Bazerman (1994) related speech acts to the
systems of genres (interrelated genres that interact with each other in
specific settings) that orchestrate the patents. Speech acts can give a new
kind of precision to rhetorical aims and means.

7 Steps in Analyzing Unfamiliar Genres:

Bhatia 1993 (pp. 22-36)


Placing genre-text in a situational context

Surveying existing literature
Refining situational/contextual analysis
Selecting corpus
Studying the institutional context
Levels of linguistic analysis
a. Lexico-grammatical features
b. Analysis of text-patterning or
c. Structural interpretation of the textgenre
7. Specialist information in genre analysis

Bhatia 2004 (pp. 163-167)


Placing genre-text in a situational context

Surveying existing literature
Refining situational/contextual analysis
Selecting corpus
Textual, intertextual and interdiscursive
(an extension of No 6 in Bhatia 1993)
6. Ethnographic analysis
7. Studying institutional context
(similar to No 5 in Bhatia 1993)

Bhatias (2004: 163-168) seven steps in analysing genres:

1. Placing the given genre-text in a situational context

2. Surveying existing literature on:

linguistic analyses of the genre in question or other related or similar
tools, methods or theories of linguistic/discourse/genre analysis which
might be relevant to this situation;
practitioner advice, guide books, manuals etc. relevant to the speech
community in question;
discussions of the social structure, interactions, history, beliefs, goals, etc. of
the professional or academic community that uses the genre in question.

3. Refining situational/contextual analysis

defining the speaker/writer of the text, the audience, their relationship and
their goals;
defining the historical, socio-cultural, philosophic and /or occupational
placement of the community in which the discourse takes place;
identifying the network of surrounding texts and linguistic traditions that
form the background to this particular genre-text; and
identifying the topic/subject/extra-textual reality that the text is trying to
represent, change or use and the relationship of the text to that reality.

4. Selecting corpus
define the genre/sub-genre that one is working with well enough so that it
may be distinguishable from other genres either similar or closely related in
some ways. The definition may be based on the communicative purposes and
the situational context(s) in which it is generally used, and some distinctive
textual characteristics of the genre-text or some combination of these;
make sure that ones criteria for deciding whether a text belongs to a specific
genre are clearly stated;
decide on ones criteria for an adequate selection of the corpus for ones
specific purpose(s). A long single typical text for detailed analysis, a few
randomly chosen texts for exploratory investigation, a large statistical sample
to investigate a few specified features though easily identified indicators, etc.

5. Textual, intertextual and interdiscursivity

statistical significance of lexico-grammar

text patterning or textualization

cognitive or discourse structuring
analysis of the role of intertextuality and interdiscursivity

6. Ethnographic analysis
This may focus on some of the following issues in the context of the typical
sites of engagement:
What physical circumstances influence the nature and construction of
What are the critical moments of engagement or interaction?
What modes of genre construction or communication are available at the
critical moments or sites?

Information on most of these aspects may be achieved through a set of

ethnographical procedures, which may include the following:
Accounts of practitioner advice, guide books, manuals written for members
of the relevant discourse community in question;
Discussion of the social structure, interactions, history, beliefs, goals;
Detached observational accounts of expert behaviour;
Lived experiences of expert members of the community of practice;
Convergent narrative accounts of first-hand experiences of active
Textography of discursive practices. Genres are social actions situated in
disciplinary practices, and are products of the environment in which each
takes shape.

7. Studying institutional context

The study of institutional context may include the system and methodology in
which the genre is used and the disciplinary conventions that govern the use
of language in such institutional settings. These conventions are most often
implicitly understood and unconsciously followed by the participants taking
part in the communicative situation in which the genre in question is used, or
even explicitly enforced in some institutional settings.

Interrelationship of Approaches to Discourse Analysis:

text, context and semiotic mode
(Bhatia, Flowerdew & Jones, 2008)

Ethnographic analysis

Multimodal discourse analysis

Conversation analysis
Corpus-based analysis

Critical Genre Analysis (CGA)

Multidimensional and multi-perspective approach to genre-based analysis of
written discourse draws on several types of analytical data. It draws on:
textual data by treating genre as a reflection of discursive practices of
disciplinary communities,
ethnographic data, in that it seeks to observe genres in action, grounded in
narrated insightful experiences of expert members of the community of
socio-cognitive and institutional data, as it draws on historically and
structurally grounded accounts of the conditions under which systems of
genre are constructed, interpreted, used and exploited by expert members
of disciplinary cultures of achieve their typical goals within the construct of
their everyday professional activities.

Multi-dimensional analytical perspective

(Bhatia, 2004)


Analysis of:
* Statistical significance of lexico-grammar
* Textual corpora
* Textualisation of lexico-grammatical resources
* Discoursal / rhetorical or cognitive structures
* Intertextuality and interdiscursivity
* Generic conventions and practices

Analysis and understanding of:

* Critical sites of engagement or moments of
* Practitioner advice and guidance
* Social structure, interactions, history, beliefs,
goals of professional community
* Physical circumstances influencing genre
* Modes available for genre construction &
* History and development of the genre


Analysis and understanding of:

* Patterns of generic integrity
* Patterns of audience reception
* Nature and function of disciplinary cultures
* Modes and patterns of professional practice
* Appropriation of generic resources
* Use of exploitation of rhetorical strategies
* Patterns of Interdiscursivity

Analysis and awareness of:

* Patterns of language, ideology and power
* Interaction of language and social
* Interaction between discourse and social
* Discourse and social practices
* Cross-cultural, intercultural constrains



Tip of the Iceberg analogy

Tip of the Iceberg analogy

Genre Analysis

Genre Analysis