Genre analysis

Authored by: Philip Shaw

The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138774711
eBook ISBN: 9781315657455
Adobe ISBN: 9781317328100

10.4324/9781315657455.ch19

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Abstract

The term genre is widely used in the humanities to discuss the ways in which texts and works of art are structured by their creators and received by readers and viewers (Paltridge 1997; Frow 2005). Genre analysis, however, is more strongly associated with particular disciplines, among them applied linguistics (classically Swales 1990; see Tardy 2011a, 2011b and Paltridge 2012), and there are good reasons for this. Neither expert nor novice writers of academic prose typically have explicit knowledge of (or a metalanguage for) the rhetorical, and particularly the formal, features of their disciplinary genres. Their discussion is usually focussed on the thematic features: the content. Consequently, the English for academic purposes (EAP) expert’s contribution is rhetorical genre analysis. Genre analysis aims to make genre knowledge available to those outside the circle of expert producers of the texts, for use in whatever way they wish, in teaching or translation, for example. The description is formulated like this to exclude from this chapter two other possible uses of genre analysis within EAP: research studies of how genres are acquired by learners (cf Bawarshi and Reiff 2010: 116); and the use of analysis of genre as a learning activity where people who are not trained in EAP – experts or learners within a particular discipline – learn to analyse their ‘own’ genres (Swales and Feak 2000; Cheng, e.g. 2007; Negretti and Kuteeva 2011).

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