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Genre and cultural purpose We recognize a genre when a text does something with language that we’re familiar with. Very often we are able state what kind.

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Presentation on theme: "Genre and cultural purpose We recognize a genre when a text does something with language that we’re familiar with. Very often we are able state what kind."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genre and cultural purpose We recognize a genre when a text does something with language that we’re familiar with. Very often we are able state what kind of text a text is, because we have recognised what purpose it fulfils, or what kind of job it does in its culture of origin.

2 Definitions of genre ‘A genre is a staged, goal-oriented, purposeful activity in which speakers engage as members of our culture’. (Martin, 1984) In other words: ‘Genres are how things get done, when language is used to accomplish them’ (Martin, 1985) There are, therefore, as many genres as there are recognizable social activities

3 Generic identity Negotiating texts depends in part on on identifying ways in which a particular text is similar to or reminiscient of other texts circulating in a culture. This means that if a text is not easily attributable to a genre it can be a problematic text.

4 Habitualization ‘Any action that is repeated frequently becomes cast into a pattern, which can then be reproduced with economy of effort and which, ipso facto, is apprehended by its performer as that pattern. Habitualization further implies that the action in question may be performed again in the future in the same manner and with the same economical effort’.

5 Purpose of habitualization Doing something in pretty much the same way saves time and energy. Bakhtin claims that genres are not just ‘economic’ but that they are essential: ‘If speech genres did not exist and we had not mastered them, if we had to originate them during the speech process and construct each utterance at will for the first time, speech communication would be almost impossible.’ (1994)

6 What is habitualized when developing genres? As Situations or Contexts recur, we develop recurrent ways of using language. For systemic linguists a genre comes about as paricular values of: 1. Field (topic or domain of the situation ) 2.Tenor (social roles ‘played’by interactants) 3.Mode (typical situations of language use) These regularly co-occur and eventually become stabilized in the culture as ‘typical’ situations.

7 The genre of horoscopes The field: predicting romantic, material and career events; Tenor: advice and warning Mode: direct address from text producer to (generic) reader/text interpreter

8 How language realises situational values In horospcopes the situational values are realised in predictable language choices: Nouns about love, physical appearance and acquisition of wealth; The text producer’s use of imperatives The use of spoken language features (the pronoun ‘you’, elliptical structures) combined with written language techniques of nominalisation.

9 Schematic structure: the most overt expression of a genre Bakhtin claims that ‘from the very beginning we have a sense of the speech as a whole’. In other words, genres develop linguistic expression through a limited number of functional stages, occurring in a particular sequence.

10 Typical stages of the horoscope genre General outlook: general statement about period covered by the horoscope; Uncontingent predictions: stage comprising general predictions about reader’s immediate future; Contingent predictions: stage in which specific advice is offered contingent on the category the reader belongs to (single, with a partner etc) Advice: stage in which the text producer offers advice and warnings.

11 Schematic structure of a genre As we habitualize our joint negotiation of communicative tasks we establish a series of stages or steps. Together these are known as the schematic structure of a genre. ‘Schematic Structure’ represents the positive contribution genre makes to a text: a way of getting from A to B in the way a given culture accomplishes whatever the genre in question is functioning to do in that culture’ (Martin, 1985)

12 Constituency and labelling Constituency and labelling are important concepts for understanding how genres are structured. Constituency: is concerned with identifying the parts (constituents) that make up (constitute) the whole. At its simplest, it involves defining the Beginning, Middle, and End.

13 Functional labelling To divide a text into its constituents it is necessary to establish the basis on which different parts of a text constitute different stages. functional criteria: dividing the genre into different stages according to the function of the different constituents. All genres have a beginning a middle and an end. So to find more useful labels we should ask what exactly is being done in this beginning or middle or end of the text. Or what exactly is being done in the body of one genre that is different from the body of another?

14 Realization patterns 1. If genres are different ways of using language, then we should find that the speakers make different lexico-grammatical choices according to the different purposes they want to achieve. Realization patterns will differ across genres. 2. If each genre is made up of a number of different functionally related stages, then the different elements of schematic structure will reveal different lexico-grammatical choices. Realization patterns will differ across schematic stages.

15 Realization patterns continued Each stage of schematic structure is associated clearly with a number of grammatical and lexical features. By specifying in as much detail as possible the grammatical patterns of each part of a text, we can determine both how many stages we need to recognize and where to place the boundaries between stages.

16 Realization patterns of horoscopes The language of the General Outlook stage is very different from the language of the Contingent Predictions stage: The first involves a relational process (the verb to be) with ‘you’ as subject and general abstract nouns, expressing the overall situation or quality; The second involves conditional clauses, specific time references and process types and modulation. Remember: every time we recognize an element of structure we have to be able to argue for it, and its boundaries, by finding its reflex in linguistic realization.

17 Analysis of constituent parts of the readers’ tips genre. 1. Recognition of or assumption of relevance of topic (raised or advanced in previous edition(s) of magazine): 52: ‘I’m all for improving my diet and finding ways of cutting out fat’ 2 Thanks for /recognition of usefulness of previous suggestion or advice in magazine 52 : Your shepherd’s pie recipe … was a good one 52: Thanks for the article on the weekly curse…

18 3 Limitation or inadequacy of part of the previous suggestion: 52: ‘But to cook mince only to let it go cold and then scrape of the fat takes to long. Try this instead: 52: ‘It was really helpful except for one piece of advice… It doesn’t work, believe me.

19 4 Refinement to defective element, or alternative to it: 52 ‘So try this instead’, followed by instructions (imperative) 52 ‘If you’d given away a free metal detector with the last issue, it might have been different’, followed by recommendation (imperative)

20 5 Name of correspondent 6 Recognition/ thanks from text producer- especially if the text is deemed to add to rather than detract from the original tip/advice)

21 Realizational patterns in reader’s tips 1a. relational process (usually based on verb ‘to be’: I’m all for (describing attitude to a topic or issue) 1b. Thanks for previous article) –conventional phrase 2. identification of limitation: adversative conjunction: but, except, instead.

22 Alternative advice (witty and impossible) - past conditional Alternative advice (concrete) - instruction- giving imperatives. Thank you from magazine (optional)

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