Discourse Genres

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TitleDiscourse Genres
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMiller, Carolyn R., and Ashley R. Kelly
EditorRocci, A., and L. de Saussure
Book TitleVerbal Communication
Series TitleHandbooks of Communication Science
PublisherDe Gruyter
Place PublishedBerlin
ISBN Number9783110255478
Keywordsexigence, formalism, genre awareness, genre system, macrostructure, move analysis, rhetoric, social action, Text type, uptake, utterance

Genre marks large-scale repeated patterns of meaning in human symbolic production and interaction. Approaches to genre can be divided into the formalistthematic, attending to categories and discriminations based on linguistic or textual elements and drawing from cognitive theories; and the pragmatic, attending primarily to use-patterns drawing from social theories of function, action, and communal interaction. This overview draws from disciplines explicitly concerned with natural language, including literature, rhetoric, and several areas of linguistics. A distinction between rational and empirical approaches to genre affects both how genre is conceived and what methods are used for analysis. The rational approach grounds genre in a principle or theory determined by the theorist, yielding a relatively small, closed set of genres; the empirical grounds genre in the experience of those for whom genres are significant, yielding an historically changing, open set of genres. Genre analysis is applied in many discourse disciplines and for a variety of purposes, both descriptive and prescriptive.