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Applied genre analysis: a multi-perspective model

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Author(s): Vijay K Bhatia

Journal: Ibérica
ISSN 1139-7241

Volume: 4;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2002;
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Keywords: Genre analysis | generic knowledge | professional discourse | educational settings

ABSTRACT
Genre analysis can be viewed from two different perspectives: it may be seen as a reflection of the complex realities of the world of institutionalised communication, or it may be seen as a pedagogically effective and convenient tool for the design of language teaching programmes, often situated within simulated contexts of classroom activities. This paper makes an attempt to understand and resolve the tension between these two seemingly contentious perspectives to answer the question: "Is generic description a reflection of reality, or a convenient fiction invented by applied linguists?". The paper also discusses issues related to the nature and use of linguistic description in a genre-based educational enterprise, claiming that instead of using generic descriptions as models for linguistic reproduction of conventional forms to respond to recurring social contexts, as is often the case in many communication based curriculum contexts, they can be used as analytical resource to understand and manipulate complex inter-generic and multicultural realisations of professional discourse, which will enable learners to use generic knowledge to respond to novel social contexts and also to create new forms of discourse to achieve pragmatic success as well as other powerful human agendas.
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