By V. K. Bhatia

Style research has a common culture in literature, yet curiosity within the research of non-literary genres has been very contemporary. This publication examines the idea of style research, seems at style research in motion, taking texts from a large choice of genres and discusses using style research in language instructing and language reform.

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Extra info for Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings

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It is often found that the members of the professional or academic community have greater knowledge of the conventional purpose(s), construction and use of specific genres than those who are non-specialists. That is why expert genre writers often appear to be more creative in the use of genres they are most familiar with than those who are outside the specialist community. Obviously, one needs to be familiar with the conventions of the genre before one can exploit them for special effects. Experienced newspaper reporters often succeed in imposing desired perspectives on otherwise objective news reports.

These constraints, however, are often exploited by the expert members of the discourse community to achieve private intentions within the framework of socially recognized purpose(s). There are several aspects of this definition which need further elaboration. First, genre is a recognizable communicative event characterized by a set of communicative purpose(s) identified and mutually understood by members of the professional or academic community in which it regularly occurs. Although there are a number of other factors, like content, form, intended audience, medium or channel, that influence the nature and construction of 49 a genre, it is primarily characterized by the communicative purpose(s) that it is intended to fulfil.

In order to introduce a thick description of language in use, it is necessary to combine socio-cultural (including ethnographic) and psycholinguistic (including cognitive) aspects of text-construction and interpretation with linguistic insights, in order to answer the question, Why are specific discourse-genres written and used by the specialist communities the way they are? One such model has been proposed by Swales (1981b). The concept of genre, which had been so prevalent in literature, sociology and rhetoric for a long time, has started assuming importance in linguistics only recently.

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