Genre awareness

“A critical consciousness of both rhetorical purposes and ideological effects of generic forms” (Devitt, 2004, p. 189). The term has also been used to describe knowledge of textual conventions, as in Mustafa (1995).

Rowley-Jolivet and Carter Thomas (2005) include under genre awareness “taking into account the targeted audience, the communicative purpose of the discourse, and the conventions socially constructed by the discourse community” (p. 42). Devitt (2004) separates a pedagogy of genre awareness from the teaching of specific genres, since, as Eriksson and Gustafsson (2008) observe, genre awareness has been “misunderstood to consist of mere text type mastery rather than the ability to act and contribute in relevant ways in a discourse community” (p. 123).



Devitt, A. (2004). Writing Genres. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Eriksson, A. & M. Gustafsson. (2008). “Tackling transfer and transferability: ESP/EAP design for learning beyond templates.” In ESP in European Higher Education: Integrating Language and Content. Ed. I. Fortanet-Gomez & C. Räisänen. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Co. 117-142.

Mustafa, Z. (1995). Effect of genre awareness on linguistic transfer. English for Specific Purposes, 14(3), 247-56.

Rowley-Jolivet, E., & Carter-Thomas, S. (2005). Genre awareness and rhetorical appropriacy: Manipulation of information structure by NS and NNS scientists in the international conference setting. English For Specific Purposes, 24(1), 41-64.

Contributed by: 

Drew Holladay

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