Spoken professional genres

Authored by: Almut Koester , Michael Handford

The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415551076
eBook ISBN: 9780203809068
Adobe ISBN: 9781136672927


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What do business meetings, job interviews and medical consultations have in common? The answer is that they are all examples of spoken professional interactions. However, arguably, these different types of professional interaction are defined more by what distinguishes them from one another than by what they have in common. Genre analysis is a particular type of discourse analysis that aims to identify the specific nature of such specialized types of interaction, whether they are written or spoken. However, as shown in previous chapters on genre in this volume, there is no uniform approach to deciding how genres should be defined and described. For some, a common communicative purpose is what all instances of a specific genre share (Swales, 1990), while for others it is the way a text or interaction is structured that determines whether it belongs to one genre or another (Hasan, 1985). In this chapter, two specific ways of seeing genre will be elaborated in detail: genre as communicative purpose and genre as staged practice. We begin with an overview of different approaches to describing and analysing genre and we discuss their relevance to the still developing field of spoken professional genre.

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